The legal battle between former Fox News Channel personality Gretchen Carlson and her ex-boss Roger Ailes added another chapter on Friday, with Ailes’ attorney claiming that Carlson breached her contract.
A motion filed by Ailes’ attorney on Friday also asked that the suit be moved from state to federal court, and asked that the sexual-harassment case be moved to arbitration.
Carlson filed suit against Fox News Chairman and CEO Ailes on Wednesday, claiming that Ailes sexually propositioned her, then fired her in retaliation after she complained about discrimination and harassment.
The legal papers claim that Carlson’s employment contract contained an arbitration provision requiring that “all claims relating to her employment be brought to arbitration at the American Arbitration Association (AAA), and that all filings, allegations, evidence and events leading up to the arbitration be held in strict confidence.”
Instead, the motion says, she sued.
“Since the filing of her Superior Court complaint, Plaintiff and her counsel have embarked on a publicity campaign to defame Mr. Ailes, notwithstanding the strict confidentiality requirement in the mandatory arbitration provision of her employment agreement,” the motion reads.
Ailes’ lawyer is also seeking to have the case moved from state court in New Jersey to federal court, contending that Ailes and Carlson are residents of different states.
“Gretchen Carlson had an arbitration clause in her contract, strictly stating that any employment dispute regarding her tenure at Fox News must be done via confidential arbitration,” a Fox News spokesperson told TheWrap in a statement. “Because Carlson’s claim on Wednesday violated that clause, coupled with the fact that neither Roger Ailes nor Gretchen Carlson reside in New Jersey and are citizens of different states, a motion was filed to have the case moved to Federal Court, which is in full accordance with the law.”
In her suit, Carlson claims that, when she met with Ailes to discuss alleged discriminatory treatment she had experienced, “Ailes said, ‘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,’ adding that ‘sometimes problems are easier to solve’ that way.”
Carlson also claims that, after she complained, she was assigned fewer hard-hitting political interviews and her air time was reduced, including being removed from the Fox News series “Fox and Friends.”
In response to the lawsuit, Fox launched an internal review into the allegations.
Ailes called the allegations “false” and “without merit.”
“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,” Ailes said in a statement. “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.”