Roger Ailes calls Gretchen Carlson's allegations 'false' and 'defamatory'

Roger Ailes.
(Image credit: Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images)

Fox News Chairman and CEO Roger Ailes is calling former Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson's lawsuit alleging wrongful termination and sexual harassment "defamatory" and retaliation for her contract not being renewed.

The complaint alleges that Ailes made "sexually-charged comments" to Carlson, 
"ranging from lewd innuendo, ogling, and remarks about Ms. Carlson's body to demands for sex as a way for her to improve her job standing." In a statement released Wednesday, Ailes called Carlson's allegations "false," and said the suit is retaliation 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. 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. Ironically, Fox News provided her with more on-air opportunities over her 11 year tenure than any other in the industry, for which she thanked me in her recent book. This defamatory lawsuit is not only offensive, it is wholly without merit and and will be defended vigorously."

The lawsuit also claims that Carlson was fired from Fox & Friends in 2013 because she complained about co-host Steve Doocy's behavior, which included "mocking her during commercial breaks, shunning her off air, refusing to engage with her on air [and] belittling her contributions to the show." In a statement, a spokesperson for 21st Century Fox said the company takes "these matters seriously. While we have full confidence in Mr. Ailes and Mr. Doocy, who have served the company brilliantly for over two decades, we have commenced an internal review of the matter."

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Catherine Garcia

Catherine Garcia is night editor for Her writing and reporting has appeared in Entertainment Weekly and, The New York Times, The Book of Jezebel, and other publications. A Southern California native, Catherine is a graduate of the University of Redlands and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.