The chatter among TV newsers here at the RNC earlier this morning was all about Melania Trump‘s cribbed speech on the opening night of the RNC. But the talk quickly turned to the second blockbuster story in as many days involving the future of Fox News chairman and CEO Roger Ailes.
Gabe Sherman reports that Megyn Kelly, who remained quiet even as more than 15 of her colleagues spoke out in support of Ailes, has reportedly told outside investigators that she too was harassed by Ailes early in her career at Fox News.
According to two sources briefed on parent company 21st Century Fox’s outside probe of the Fox News executive, led by New York–based law firm Paul, Weiss, Kelly has told investigators that Ailes made unwanted sexual advances toward her about ten years ago when she was a young correspondent at Fox. Kelly, according to the sources, has described her harassment by Ailes in detail.
In the gossipy world of TV news, the latest jolt in the Ailes saga is reverberating throughout the Quicken Loans Arena, where hundreds of TV journalists are covering the RNC. We talked with multiple TV news anchors and reporters in the hours after Gabe Sherman’s story was published. “One is an incident, two is a trend,” a longtime network anchor who has not worked for Fox News told me. Another wondered why it would have taken 10 years, and a lawsuit, for Kelly to come forward. Kelly’s current contract with Fox News is up next summer and she has long been considered a rising star at the network. She is the co-anchor of Fox News’s prime time coverage from here in Cleveland.
Among the people I spoke with, there was not a sense of schadenfreude, an emotion often expressed in the hyper competitive world of TV news, but more of dismay that it had come to this. That for someone who created a multi-billion dollar business from thin air, would likely leave on these terms.
A short bus ride from the Arena hosting the RNC, is the First Merit Convention Center which is homebase for the Fox News operation here in Cleveland. At the Q it was business as usual for Fox News crews as they continued on with the business of the convention, setting up a live shot with Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.
21st Century Fox is declining comment on today’s development.