You always wonder when the other shoe is going to fall, and in the case of the recent sexual harassment suit against Fox News bigwig, Roger Ailes, brought by former Fox News host, Gretchen Carlson, that shoe just dropped.
In the days after Fox News host Gretchen Carlson filed a sexual harassment and wrongful termination lawsuit against her former boss, Roger Ailes, her attorneys said at least 10 women had come out of the woodwork and contacted the firm about being harassed by the long-serving Fox News head.
None of them had been interviewed on the record until Saturday, when New York Magazine’s Gabe Sherman published six accounts from women who say they, too, were harassed by Ailes — two of them identifying themselves by name.
It’s hard to say if this will have any effect on the proceedings, considering that the accounts range in a time frame of 27 to 51 years ago. They may add a bit more weight to Carlson’s claims, however, as they speak to the character and past behaviors of the accused.
Perhaps the most egregious of the claims came from a former model using a pseudonym, who alleged that Ailes demanded oral sex from her when she was 16 years old and appearing on “The Mike Douglas Show,” which Ailes used to produce.
According to her account: “He proceeded to pull down his pants and very gingerly pull out his genitals and said, ‘Kiss them’ … I jumped up, but the door is locked and nobody’s out there. He chased me around the office and at some point it dawned on him that this just wasn’t going to happen. He finally pulled up his trousers. He was very angry and rushed over to his desk, pulled open a door and had a reel-to-reel tape recorder going. He said to me, ‘Don’t tell anybody about this. I’ve got it all on tape.’”
While there were four women who didn’t want their real names revealed, two women were willing to speak openly. One was a former RNC field adviser by the name of Kellie Boyle, and the other was a former model named Marsha Callahan.
“I don’t remember his exact words, but his message was: If you want to make it in New York City in the TV business, you’re going to have to f**k me, and you’re going to do that with anyone I tell you to,” one woman, a former television producer, told Sherman.
Boyle said she recalled Ailes propositioning her for sex in order to advance her career.
“‘You know, if you want to play with the big boys, you have to lay with the big boys,’” Boyle said Ailes told her in 1989. “I was so taken aback … He said, ‘That’s the way it works,’ and he started naming other women he’s had. He said that’s how all these men in media and politics work — everyone’s got their friend. I said, ‘Would I have to be friends with anybody else?’ And he said, ‘Well you might have to give a b***job every once in a while.’”
Is your stomach turning, yet?
All of this is a further blow to the image of a news agency that was once thought to be a port in the storm for war-weary conservatives, looking for news that wasn’t a full tilt to the left. The charade began to come apart over the past year, as it became apparent that Fox was acting as the de facto campaign headquarters and PR firm for the most liberal, unelectable candidate the GOP had ever put forth.
They have effectively doomed the nation in the interest of ratings, so to find that their company president is possibly a complete sleazebag is registering exactly “nil” on the shock meter, these days.
Ms. Callahan offers another harrowing story. As a model in the 1960s, Ailes tried to convince her that she should sleep with him, in order to boost her career with an appearance on “The Mike Douglas Show.”
She told Sherman: “He said he’d put me on the show but I needed to go to bed with him … I said, ‘Well if you think I have star quality and you can make money off my looks, I don’t think it’d matter if I went to bed with you or not.’ And he said, ‘Oh, pretty girls like you are a dime a dozen.’”
So are these accounts true, or just opportunistic bandwagon jumping, now that Gretchen Carlson has stepped forward?
We don’t really know, but Ailes has now requested that the case with Carlson be moved to secret arbitration, so we’ll see.