Eleven-year Fox News anchor and Miss America 1989 Gretchen Carlson is suing Roger Ailes, the co-founder and CEO of the top-ranked news network, for sexual harassment.
Carlson, whose employment ended June 23 at the culmination of her contract, said her termination followed years of verbal harassment and claims of a hostile work environment. The lawsuit, filed this morning in the Superior Court of New Jersey in Bergen County, claims that Ailes called the anchor a "man hater" and saw everything as if it "only rains on women."
The suit goes on to claim that Ailes "injected sexual and/or sexist comments and innuendo into their conversations" including:
- Ogling Carlson in his office and asking her to turn around so he could view her posterior.
- Commenting repeatedly on Carlson's legs.
- Lamenting that marriage was "boring," "hard" and "not much fun."
- Embarrassing Carlson by stating to others in her presence that he had "slept" with three former Miss Americas but not with her.
Late today, Ailes responded to the allegations calling them "false" and "defamatory" and "wholly without merit."
Things came to a head in September, Carlson claims, when she asked for a meeting with Ailes. At that meeting, she said he told her, "I think you and I should have had a sexual relationship a long time ago."
TVNewser has a copy of the complaint.
Carlson joined Fox News in 2005 and was the co-anchor of the network's top-rated Fox & Friends for more than seven years before being replaced by Elisabeth Hasselbeck. Since 2013, Carlson has been the anchor of a one-hour afternoon show on Fox News.
In his statement, Ailes added: "This is a retaliatory suit for the network's decision not to renew her contract, which was due to the fact that her disappointingly low ratings were dragging down the afternoon lineup."
In a 2012 interview on The View, Carlson said her nickname around the newsroom was "BA," short for Bad Ass, "but in a good way," she added.
Carlson, who is married to sports agent Casey Close, is seeking compensatory damages, punitive damages and damages for mental anguish.