“I just talked to TheWrap…it’s an online publication,” Fox News star Jeanine Pirro says in Jay Roach’s new fact-based drama “Bombshell.” Hmm, that sounds familiar.
That line comes from a scene in “Bombshell,” which opens on Friday, where the mainstays of Fox News are doing damage control for network founder and CEO, Roger Ailes, after former anchor Gretchen Carlson filed a lawsuit accusing him of sexual harassment. One of those mainstays is Pirro, the former judge turned TV host, who says that in her attempt to defuse the situation, she just finished talking with…well, us.
First of all, thanks for the shout-out. But to further prove that Roach and screenwriter Charles Randolph really did their homework, it just so happens that the real Pirro did actually talk to TheWrap in July 2016, one day after the suit was filed. Why, you can even read that very story from reporter Brian Flood published on July 7, 2016: “Fox News’ Jeanine Pirro Rips Gretchen Carlson’s ‘Absurd’ Lawsuit.”
According to the “Bombshell” screenplay, the big-screen Pirro (played by Alanna Ubach) says, “I just talked to TheWrap…it’s an online publication…I said, ‘How sad it is we’ve got this woman making these complaints when there are real victims out there.'”
Turns out that’s pretty close to what Pirro told us at the time. What a coincidence! She also called Carlson’s lawsuit “absurd” and defended Ailes — well before it became publicly known that Carlson secretly taped many of her conversations with Ailes that formed the basis of the accusations in her suit.
“When I read what was clearly absurdities, in this complaint, I said to myself, ‘How sad that you’ve got this woman who is making these complaints when there are real victims out there,'” Pirro, a former prosecutor and judge in New York’s Westchester County, told TheWrap in 2016. “Honestly, this is a decent man and I have spent my career fighting for women. I have no bones about criticizing someone when they deserve to be criticized. But this is ridiculous.”
Back in July 2016, Carlson filed a lawsuit in Bergen County, N.J., saying that she refused Ailes’ sexual advances and “as a direct and proximate result” was fired by Fox News. At the time, Ailes called Carlson’s accusations “false” and added in a statement, “This defamatory lawsuit is not only offensive, it is wholly without merit and will be defended vigorously.”
Soon after the suit was filed, though, Ailes resigned in disgrace — and Carlson later settled with Fox News for $20 million. The network ultimately paid out $45 million in settlement money in the nine months following Ailes’ departure. The following May, Ailes died at age 77 after complications from subdural hematoma.
“Bombshell” stars Charlize Theron as Megyn Kelly, who also accused Ailes of sexual harassment in her memoir (claims that Ailes likewise denied). Nicole Kidman plays Gretchen Carlson, and Margot Robbie plays an amalgamation of some of the other female employees at Fox News who came forward to accuse Ailes of misconduct.
The film opens in New York and LA on Friday and goes wide on Dec. 20.