US & Canada

Ex-Fox News anchor sues boss Roger Ailes for sexual harassment

Gretchen Carlson Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Ms Carlson had her own show on the Fox network

Former Fox News presenter Gretchen Carlson has sued network boss, Roger Ailes, for sexual harassment and wrongful termination.

The lawsuit claims she was fired after refusing his sexual advances.

Ms Carlson worked for the conservative-leaning US network for 11 years before her contract expired in June.

Mr Ailes denies the allegations and alleges Ms Carlson filed the suit in retaliation for not having her contract renewed.

Ms Carlson first co-presented the morning programme Fox & Friends before moving to her own show, The Real Story with Gretchen Carlson, in 2013.

The lawsuit, obtained by Politico, claims that when she moved to her own show, Mr Ailes "reduced her compensation and withheld network support and promotion" for her show.

"I think you and I should have had a sexual relationship a long time ago and then you'd be good and better and I'd be good and better," Mr Ailes allegedly said.

Image copyright AP
Image caption Ms Carlson said Mr Ailes withheld network support and promotion for her show

Ms Carlson, who won the Miss America contest in 1989, alleges that Ailes said he had "slept with three former Miss Americas, but not with her".

The complaint also alleges that Mr Ailes instructed her to turn around in his office so he could look at her backside and that fellow anchor Steve Doocy "regularly [treated] her in a sexist and condescending way" and regarded her as a "blond female prop".

Mr Ailes also allegedly called her a "man hater", "killer" and that she needed to "get along with the boys".

Image copyright Twitter

It is not her first time dealing with the matter - in her book, Getting Real, she writes about the experience of a television executive who "threw himself on top of [her] and stuck his tongue down [her throat]".

"Notwithstanding her strong performance and tireless work ethic," the lawsuit reads, "Ailes denied Ms Carlson fair compensation, desirable assignments and other career-enhancing opportunities in retaliation for her complaints of harassment and discrimination because she rejected his sexual advances."

But Mr Ailes said Ms Carlson had "conveniently" decided to pursue the case when she realised her contract would not be renewed.

"This defamatory lawsuit is not only offensive, it is wholly without merit and will be defended vigorously," he said.

Fox parent company 21st Century Fox said it had full confidence in Mr Ailes but would conduct an internal investigation.

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