Longtime Fox News host Gretchen Carlson has filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against the network’s chairman and CEO Roger Ailes.
The suit, filed on Wednesday in Bergen County, New Jersey, claims the “Real Story” host refused Ailes’ sexual advances and “as a direct and proximate result” her relationship with Fox News was severed nine months later. According to the filing obtained by TheWrap, Carlson’s employment was terminated on June 23.
Fox News has not yet responded to TheWrap’s request for comment.
The court filing alleges Ailes once said to Carlson: “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.”
Carlson seeks a “trial by jury with respect to all issues that are so triable [sic],” according to the suit, adding that the loss of employment has caused “significant economic, emotional and professional harm.”
She further claims Ailes denied her “fair compensation, desirable assignments and other career-enhancing opportunities in retaliation for her complaints of harassment and discrimination.”
“As you may have heard, I am no longer with Fox News. I value your support and friendship, especially now, so please stay in touch with me,” Carlson said in a statement on her Facebook page.
Her suit also alleges that Carlson complained in 2009 that “Fox & Friends” co-host Steve Doocy created a hostile work environment by treating her in a sexist and condescending way. According to the court documents, Ailes’ response to the complaint was that Carlson needed to learn to “get along with the boys.”
Carlson also claims Ailes once asked her to turn around so he could view her posterior, repeatedly commented on her legs and urged her to wear particular outfits. Ailes even allegedly said that if he could choose one person with whom to be stranded on a desert island, his choice would be Carlson.
She is seeking compensatory damages, including lost wages and damage to her career path, damages for mental anguish, reimbursement for negative tax consequences resulting from a jury verdict, punitive damages and attorney’s fees and “other relief as the court may deem equitable and just.”
During the second quarter of 2016, “Real Story” was the No. 24 show in all of cable news in the key 25-54 demographic. The show was more successful in total viewers, finishing No. 14 overall, ahead of any program on rival network CNN, averaging 1.15 million viewers.
Carlson is married to Casey Close, a sports agent and former professional baseball player. Since her last day on air, she has kept a low public profile, posting photos to social media of a vacation, fireworks and a performance of the Broadway hit “Hamilton.”
She is a graduate of Stanford University and was named Miss America in 1989. Carlson joined Fox News in 2005.