Report: 21st Century Fox to remove Ailes as Fox News CEO – USA TODAY
The Fox News CEO is being investigated after sexual harassment allegations were brought forth by Gretchen Carlson and others.
Twenty-First Century Fox chairman Rupert Murdoch and his sonsÂ have agreed to remove Fox News Channel CEO Roger Ailes from his job following a sexual harassment lawsuit from a former Fox broadcaster and an internal investigation of the matter, the New York magazine reported Monday.
The stunning revelation comes less than two weeks after the lawsuit was filed by Gretchen Carlson in a state court in New Jersey. Twenty-First Century Fox, whose co-executive chairmen areÂ Murdoch and his son, Lachlan Murdoch, expressed confidence in Ailes when the lawsuit was filedÂ but immediately launched an internal review.
“This matter is not yet resolved and the review is not concluded,”Â 21st Century Fox said in a statement. Fox News, the conservative-leaning cable news networkÂ owned by 21st Century Fox, couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.
The report, filed by Gabriel Sherman, who has written a critical biography of Ailes, The Loudest Voice in the Room,Â said the top 21st Century Fox executives have reviewed the initial findings of the probe, conducted by law firmÂ Paul, Weiss. James Murdoch, Rupert Murdoch’s son and CEO of 21st Century Fox, “is said to be arguing that Ailes should be presented with a choice this week to resign or face being fired,” the report said.
Rupert Murdoch wants to waitÂ until the GOP convention this week concludes before taking any action, butÂ he and his two sons “are in agreement that Ailes needs to go,” the report said.
In her lawsuit, Carlson, former host of “Fox & Friends,” alleged that Ailes sabotaged her career by not renewing her contract after she refused his sexual advances. She also claimed thatÂ her co-host, Steve Doocy,Â dealt with her in a “sexist and condescending” way. Carlson left Fox News on June 23.
Ailes has denied the claims in the lawsuit and said Carlson was let go due to the low ratings of her afternoon program, “The Real Story.” “This is a retaliatory suit for the networkâs decision not to renew her contract, which was due to the fact that her disappointingly low ratings were dragging down the afternoon lineup,” Ailes said. “When Fox News did not commence any negotiations to renew her contract, Ms. Carlson became aware that her career with the network was likely over and conveniently began to pursue a lawsuit.”
Ailes, a former media consultant for President Richard Nixon, founded Fox News in 1996 and grew the network to be a dominant force in conservative politics and cable television. Despite the network’s polarizing programs, Fox News is by far the most dominant cable news network and is among the most highly rated cable networks of all genres. And Ailes,Â 76, has controlled it with an iron fist despite reports that his relationship with the younger generation of Murdochs, particularly James Murdoch, has been testy.
Follow USA TODAY media reporter Roger Yu on Twitter @ByRogerYu.