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Reporter Rudi Bakhtiar Breaks Silence on Her Fox News Exit, Sexual Harassment Settlement

”It took me 9 years. You inspired me. Thank you Gretchen,“ Bakhtiar told her former Fox colleague, Gretchen Carlson on Twitter

Former Fox News reporter Rudi Bakhtiar has stepped forward to claim that she was fired by the news network nearly a decade ago after reporting sexual harassment by superiors — and received a six-figure settlement.

In reports Saturday in the New York Times and New York magazine, the Iranian American journalist went on record to claim that around 2007 she was sidelined at the network after refusing the sexual advances of the incoming Washington, D.C., bureau chief, Brian Wilson.

After relating her experiences with the network’s human resources VP and general counsel, she told New York magazine, network boss Roger Ailes fired her altogether. A mediator later ordered Fox to pay her $670,000 remaining on her three-year contract as well as her legal fees, according to New York.

Reps for Fox News have not yet responded to TheWrap’s requests for comment.

Bakhtiar’s allegations come in the wake of Ailes’ sudden resignation after two decades as the founder and overseer of Fox News following an explosive lawsuit by former anchor Gretchen Carlson.

Ailes, a former Republican operative, resigned Thursday in the midst of a widening investigation by 21st Century Fox into sexual harassment by Ailes and other senior executives that reportedly includes reports by at least 20 women of inappropriate behavior.

Bakhtiar joins Carlson as one of the few accusers to come forward publicly, and her candid and rather sordid account of her experiences identifies others by name.

On Twitter, Bakhtiar credited Carlson’s lawsuit for her decision to go public — a risky proposition since New York magazine reported that her press interviews may have violated a nondisclosure agreement. “It took me 9 years. You inspired me. Thank you Gretchen,” she tweeted to Carlson.

Bakhtiar’s impressive reporting of major international events for Fox News was cut short in 2007, she said, after a cup of coffee with her friend and Fox News colleague, Brian Wilson.

The social encounter quickly turned awkward when, according to the accounts, he mentioned he’d soon be promoted to Washington bureau chief and that he wanted to help her career along by securing a fulltime spot in the bureau, which was a goal of hers. “You know how I feel about you, Rudi,” she claimed that he told her, before adding, “Well, I want to see the inside of your hotel room.”

Bakhtiar said she tried to gently decline Wilson’s proposition and apologize for giving him the wrong impression. But soon after the encounter, she said that she was reassigned from the Washington bureau, denied major reporting assignments and effectively sidelined at the network.

Wilson, who left Fox News in 2010, told the New York Times on Saturday, “I take strong exception to the facts of the story as you have relayed it to me, period. Beyond that, I will have no further comment.”

Shortly after the New York Times story appeared on Saturday, support poured in from social media, including from Carlson herself.

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