21st Century Fox says it has begun an internal review of the sexual harassment charges made against Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes by former anchor Gretchen Carlson.
Carlson alleges in a lawsuit filed in New Jersey that she was fired after she rejected Ailes advances and spoke up about conditions in the Fox News Channel newsroom.
In a statement, 21st Century Fox says it has is “taking these matters serious,” but maintains it has “full confidence in Mr. Ailes and Mr. Doocy, who have served the company brilliantly for over two decades.”
At the same time Ailes released a statement of his own, denying the allegations.
“Gretchen Carlson’s allegations are false. This is a retaliatory suit 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 employer 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 will be defended vigorously,” Ailes said in his statement.
Ailes launched Fox News in 1996 and has led it to become the top rated cable news network and a big case generator for Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox.
Fox stock was up .89% to $27.12 on Wednesday.
Here is the 21st Century Fox statement: "The Company has seen the allegations against Mr. Ailes and Mr. Doocy. We take 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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Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.