Gretchen Carlson and Roger Ailes
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In an interview with New York Magazine, these six women – two whom have chosen to use their names and four whom have remained anonymous – individually describe their encounters with Ailes, all claiming that he made sexual advances towards them. According to New York, the women came forward through Carlson’s attorney.
The women – who include a former Republican National Committee field adviser, three former models, a media consultant and a former TV producer – all claim that Ailes sexually harassed them in instances ranging from the late ’60s to 1989. Kellie Boyle, the former RNC field adviser, alleged that during a 1989 interview for a job, Ailes refused to hire her after she said she wouldn’t perform sexual favors for him. Marsha Callahan, a former model, claimed that during an audition for The Mike Douglas Show in the late ’60s, then-producer Ailes made her lift up her skirt in front of him to show off her legs and told her he would give her a part on the show if she slept with him and his “select friends.” Callahan declined but still got a part on the show.
Barry Aspen, the outside legal council for Ailes, released a statement to PEOPLE saying, “It has become obvious that Ms. Carlson and her lawyer are desperately attempting to litigate this in the press because they have no legal case to argue. The latest allegations, all 30 to 50 years old, are false.”
In response to Aspen’s statement, Carlson’s lawyers Nancy Erika Smith and Martin Hyman released a statement to PEOPLE:
“Yesterday in a statement to the press (‘litigating in the press’), an Ailes spokesperson challenged Gretchen’s lawyers to come forward with other victims of Ailes’ sexual harassment to speak on the record,” Carlson’s lawyers said in their statement. “Today, six brave women voluntarily spoke out to New York Magazine detailing their traumatic sexual harassment by Ailes. We are hearing from others. Then, Barry Aspen, Ailes’ lawyer, accused Gretchen of ‘litigating in the press’ and, without any investigation, within 3 hours, claimed that the allegations are false. How does he know that?
The statement continued, “Women have the right to speak out – whether Ailes likes it or not – even about trauma they endured years ago and that haunts them to this day. Calling these women liars because they chose to speak out is despicable. Bullying and threats will not silence these brave women.”
In the midst of the allegations, prominent Fox figures such as Greta Van Susteren and Jeanine Pirro – who have both known and worked with Ailes for years – are coming to his defense.
“If Roger Ailes were how he’s described, there’s no way I would’ve stuck around. I don’t feel like putting up with that stuff and I wouldn’t,” Van Susteren previously told PEOPLE. “Even if he weren’t doing it to me, I wouldn’t want to work in that environment. I sort of feel bad for Gretchen Carlson because it’s sort of a weird thing that she’s done. What she’s alleging is something that is alien to me. I’ve never heard it.”
Another former Fox host, Kiran Chetry, penned an open letter on her Facebook page, saying that Ailes “never told me what to say and more importantly never told me what not to say.”
Later adding, “Over the years at Fox, I met with Roger Ailes one-on-one many times and never once did Roger ever make me feel uncomfortable or put forth any sexual advances.”
On Friday, an attorney for Ailes pushed to have the sexual harassment suit moved to arbitration, leaving Carlson’s attorney’s seeking answers.
“Roger Ailes is trying to force this case into a secret arbitration proceeding. Gretchen never agreed to arbitrate anything with Mr. Ailes and the contract on which he relies does not mention him and is not signed by him,” the statement from Carlson’s team, obtained by PEOPLE, read. “Gretchen intends to fight for her right to a public jury trial, a right protected by the discrimination laws and our Constitution.
“It is disturbing that the head of a large media company would try to silence the press and hide from the public a matter of such importance.”
However, Ailes’ attorney countered the statement saying that there was an arbitration clause in Carlson’s contract.
“Gretchen Carlson had an arbitration clause in her contract, stating that any employment dispute regarding her employment at Fox News must be done via confidential arbitration,” Ailes’ lawyer’s statement – also obtained by PEOPLE – read. “Because Ms. Carlson’s lawsuit violated the arbitration clause, a motion was filed in federal court to have the case arbitrated. The federal court is the proper court to decide the motion because Ms. Carlson’s primary residence is in Connecticut and Mr. Ailes’ primary residence is in New York.”