Skip to main content

Carlson Lawyers Challenge Ailes to Respond Under Oath

Lawyers for former Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson, who sued Fox News chairman Roger Ailes for sexual harassment, say they want Ailes to deny the charges under oath.

Ailes on Wednesday released a statement calling Carlson’s accusations “false” and “defamatory.” He said that Carlson’s contract was not renewed because ratings were disappointing, not because she refused any alleged improper advances.

Carlson’s attorneys released a statement Thursday spelling out what they said were the ratings changes for Carlson’s Fox News show. They say that despite being moved to a tough time slot and getting insufficient support and promotion, ratings went up and Carlson was successful.

In a statement released late Wednesday, Ailes said that ratings for Carlson’s show were “disappointing low.”

According to figures from Nielsen, Real Story with Gretchen Carlson drew 1.2 million total viewers in June, up 22% from a year ago. Carlson’s competition on CNN was up 43% and MSNBC was up 114% as election news drove ratings higher at all of the news networks.

Among viewers 25-54, the main demographic used to sell advertising, Carlson’s show was up 25% in June but fell behind CNN’s Newsroom, which was up 26%. MSNBC Live rose 200%.

Here is the statement from Carlson’s legal team of Nancy Erika Smith and Martin Hyman:

"Ailes’ claim that Gretchen Carlson was terminated because of bad ratings is demonstrably false. The publicly available ratings confirm the allegation in the Complaint that at the time of her termination Gretchen’s total viewership was up 33% year to date and up 23% in the key demographic. After her firing from Fox & Friends for complaining about discrimination, Gretchen was moved to a challenging time slot and denied support and promotion. Despite this, she succeeded and was the number one cable news show in her time slot in total viewers.

"Regarding Ailes’ claims that Gretchen’s allegations are false, we challenge him to deny, under oath, that he made the statements attributed to him in the Complaint.

"Finally, Ailes does not allow his employees to speak to the press or publish anything without prior approval. Gretchen was chastised for answering a question from a hometown newspaper about her favorite Minnesota State Fair food. In her book Gretchen told her story while trying to keep her job – knowing that Ailes had to approve what she said."