Megyn Kelly has told lawyers that Fox News chairman and CEO Roger Ailes sexually harassed her, according to New York magazine.
The majority of high-profile hosts on the network have come out to support Ailes publicly, but Kelly has stayed quiet about it since former host Gretchen Carlson filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against her former boss earlier this month. 21st Century Fox, the parent company of Fox News, has launched an internal investigation into the situation.
Carlson’s spokesperson told TheWrap, “We are interested spectators, but spectators nonetheless, and Gretchen is sympathetic and supportive to anyone who has been mistreated by Roger Ailes.”
New York magazine reported yesterday that Ailes has until Aug. 1 to step down or be fired. Fox News and 21st Century Fox did not respond to TheWrap’s separate requests for comment.
Citing two anonymous sources, the New York magazine story says, “Kelly has told investigators that Ailes made unwanted sexual advances toward her about ten years ago when she was a young correspondent at Fox.”
The story also says Kelly detailed her harassment to the New York-based law firm conducting the outside review of Carlson’s claims.
Gabriel Sherman, who has a history of serious claims against Ailes, often using anonymous sources, reported the groundbreaking development. On Monday when Sherman reported that Ailes was on his way out of Fox News, The Hill’s media guru Joe Concha said that the New York magazine reporter’s career is on the line because of his bold claims.
Concha wrote that the result of the situation “either ends one career in Ailes … or one in Sherman.”
However, Sherman will be known for breaking the biggest media story in recent memory if he turns out to be correct. He also reports, through anonymous sources, that Ailes has received strategy advice from Donald Trump and Rudy Giuliani.
The New York magazine story also notes that “21st Century Fox is now waiving the NDAs to allow women to speak.”
“We’re very relieved and heartened by the reported development that Fox News has relieved employees of NDA because it would allow them to speak freely about their experience at Fox News,” Carlson’s spokesperson told TheWrap.
Carlson’s lawsuit, filed in Bergen County, New Jersey, claims the former “Real Story” host refused Ailes’ sexual advances and “as a direct and proximate result” her relationship with Fox News was severed last month.
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.”
Ailes issued a statement saying the lawsuit 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.”
“The Kelly File” is typically the second-most watched program in all of cable news after its lead-in Bill O’Reilly. Kelly has been a popular name among FNC viewers for years, but emerged as a household name when she upset Donald Trump with a question about his treatment of women during last summer’s GOP debate. Trump bashed Kelly on Twitter for weeks and Ailes was quick to come to her defense.
Ailes repeatedly defended Kelly, prompting Trump to skip a debate on Fox News after he unsuccessfully insisted that Kelly be replaced as a moderator. Kelly and Trump eventually made up and he was the star of her primetime interview special on the Fox broadcasting network earlier this year. Kelly’s contract with Fox News ends in 2017 and the her next gig is a hot topic in media circles.
Kelly is considered a star, and not just among cable news hosts. She has appeared on the covers of numerous magazines and on a wide variety of talk shows. Her crossover appeal is often mentioned as an asset that Fox News can’t afford to lose, especially since Bill O’Reilly recently hinted at retirement.