Gretchen Carlson, the former Fox News Channel personality who’s suing her former boss Roger Ailes for sexual harassment, opened up about being let go from the organization in an interview with the New York Times published on Tuesday, calling the severance “cold and calculating.”
“It was cold and calculating,” Carlson told the paper.of a June meeting in which she was told that she wasn’t being re-upped. “It took 30 seconds, there was no ‘Thank you for your service of 11 years,’ and there was absolutely no discussion of ratings.”
Carlson added that she was “intimidated” by the power of Fox News chairman and CEO.
“Everyone knew how powerful Roger Ailes was. I certainly felt intimidated by that,” Carlson said. “The culture of ‘Fox and Friends’ was intimidating to me.”
Carlson said that she first complained of harassment in 2009, when Steve Doocy, her former cohort on the Fox and Friends” morning show, pulled her arm down in order to “quiet” her. Carlson added that she met with Ailes several times to complain of harassment, to no avail. A Fox News spokeswoman told the Times that Carlson “never filed a formal complaint about sexual harassment to the H.R. department or to the legal department.”
As revealed in handwritten notes released by Fox, even as she was allegedly complaining of harassment, she asked Ailes for further opportunities at Fox News. Asked during the interview why she would do so if she was suffering from harassment, she answered, “I think it’s hard when you’ve been a victim — you keep thinking things are going to get better.”
Carlson filed suit against Fox News Chairman and CEO Ailes last week, claiming that Ailes sexually propositioned her, then did not renew her contract in retaliation after she complained about discrimination and harassment.
In her suit, Carlson claims, among other things, 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.”
Ailes has denied the allegations, calling them”false” and “without merit.” He also said the suit is retaliation for dropping her contract in June due to what the network claims were disappointing ratings for her afternoon show “The Real Story.”
In a filing last week, Ailes’ attorney claimed that Carlson had breached her contract, which 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.”