Roger Ailes, the founder and chief executive of Fox News, has resigned from his position under fire, but will remain with the company until 2018 as a consultant, Fox News’ parent company, 21st Century Fox, announced Thursday. “To lead a flourishing news channel, and to build Fox Business, Roger has defied the odds”, Murdoch said in the statement.
According to a lawsuit filed by former Fox News correspondent Gretchen Carlson, Fox CEO Ailes was a serial sexual harasser, making sexualized comments about her, and eventually retaliating against her when she wouldn’t sleep with him. The senior Murdoch will temporarily take over as chairman and CEO of Fox News, a transition Ailes is expected to oversee.
Following Thursday’s news that Ailes was stepping down, Carlson’s lawyer said it was her client’s “extraordinary courage” that had caused “a seismic shift in the media world”. Republican nominee Donald Trump, who often rails against political correctness, is regularly featured on Fox News; network contributors also defend Trump’s sexism as politically incorrect rather than pathological. Fox News has become Number 1 in all of cable because I consistently identified and promoted the most talented men and women in television, and they performed at the highest levels.
The channel claimed to be “fair and balanced”, but in reality its programming was tilted in favor of conservative opinions and Republican politics, reflecting the views of Ailes himself. One source said women were relieved that Ailes had been removed.
As the news broke, Fox News security was attempting to establish a perimeter around Fox News’ space at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, where reporters had gathered to interview Fox News staff to get reactions to the news.
Recent reports said Ailes and the network had been negotiating the terms of his departure, following claims of sexual harassment by two of the outlet’s popular newswomen – Megyn Kelly and Gretchen Carlson.
Financial details of Ailes’ separation from Fox was not released, but sources inside the company say it is about $40 million.
July 12: Veteran Fox News Channel host Neil Cavuto publishes a defense of Ailes in the Business Insider website, describing the accusations against him as “sick”.
The resignation comes as Fox News, known for a lineup of politically conservative commentators including best-selling author Bill O’Reilly, is drawing record viewership.
Fox News also must adapt to changing consumption habits, as viewers begin to demand more ways to access content on digital platforms.
Well, right now there’s no word on whether or not FOX News will be losing some of its biggest names over Roger Ailes’ resignation, but since he wasn’t technically fired, they’d probably have a much harder time justifying that move. “We thank all the fearless women who spoke out about this issue”, the lawyers said. The daytime show “Outnumbered” is a classic Ailes concept: four women in dresses, their legs prominently displayed, debating issues with a single male panelist. “I admire him professionally”, Fox News anchor Chris Wallace said in an email.
Rupert Murdoch will assume the role of Chairman and acting CEO of Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network.
“There is no clear successor to run the network once Ailes leaves”.
There are conflicting reports about whether a talent “walkout” is possible in the wake of Ailes’ departure.
“No, you can’t talk to anybody from Fox News”, a security guard told gathered reporters.
Another one of the hosts left the door open.