Embattled Fox News Channel boss Roger Ailes may leave his employer with an expensive parting gift — the bill for his lawsuit from Gretchen Carlson.
According to a proposed severance deal leaked Tuesday, 21st Century Fox would agree to indemnify Ailes, 76, and pay for “legal representation and the payment of damages” if he agrees to leave the company.
The term sheet, which was briefly posted on the Drudge Report Tuesday before being taken down, does not mention Carlson or her suit specifically but says Ailes “will be indemnified for claims as against the company and him.”
Carlson, the former co-host of “Fox & Friends,” filed a lawsuit July 6 claiming that Ailes sexually harassed her. Since then, some women at Fox News have stepped forward to defend him. But the company has taken steps to oust him from his post at the No. 1-rated news network.
Susan Estrich, a lawyer representing Ailes, did not return a call and email seeking comment on the indemnification clause. A Fox News spokeswoman referred the matter to 21st Century. A spokesman for 21st Century had no comment.
The rest of the agreement suggests that Ailes will receive at least $28 million over the next year in salary payments and bonuses alone, not including the value of his reimbursed legal costs.
The agreement sets Ailes’ termination date at July 22. From then until June 30 of next year, under the terms of the proposed deal, he would receive salary payments equal to $6.25 million a year, superseding his current contract, which expires in October.
In addition to the salary, Ailes would receive an annual bonus for fiscal year 2017 based on 21st Century Fox earnings on top of a bonus for 2016 of $21.7 million, which is likely stipulated in his existing employment agreement.
Ailes would also continue to receive other employee benefits in his revised role with the company, in which he would “provide advice and services as requested by KRM [21st Century Fox executive co-chairman Rupert Murdoch].”