Former Fox News CEO Roger Ailes continues to polarize the nation even after his passing Thursday, as media members and celebrities took to Twitter to both mock his death — and celebrate his life.
A handful of Fox News employees have expressed their condolences, but other media members weren’t as kind when it came to remembering the man who left the network he founded in disgrace.
Ailes resigned from Fox News in July after former anchor Gretchen Carlson filed a sexual harassment lawsuit that resulted in multiple women coming forward with similar claims. Before the sexual harassment scandals emerged, Ailes was considered the mastermind behind the success of Fox News and one of the most powerful men in both media and American politics.
Check out some of the reaction from critics:
Roger Ailes has died. Let all his victims now be ungagged for the true, full reckoning of his life. And give them back their jobs.
— Lisa Bloom (@LisaBloom) May 18, 2017
Roger Ailes has died. Wow. Sending deep and heartfelt condolences to everyone who was abused, harassed, exploited, and unjustly fired by him
— Marc Lamont Hill (@marclamonthill) May 18, 2017
Roger Ailes has died. Another proud Confederate monument taken down this week. Smdh.
— Josh Gondelman (@joshgondelman) May 18, 2017
Roger Ailes was a comprehensively bad person, RIP
— Bruce Arthur (@bruce_arthur) May 18, 2017
The same people with calendar reminders in their phones to make Trayvon Martin jokes on his birthday think I should respect Roger Ailes. pic.twitter.com/YhmqwjdGSA
— Travon (@Travon) May 18, 2017
So Roger Ailes has died. Lots to unpack in that obit.
— Joy-Ann (Pro-Democracy) Reid ? (@JoyAnnReid) May 18, 2017
Yes, Roger Ailes was a TV genius. He also had an apparently monstrous personal life and nasty, dangerous editorial instincts.
— Sam Stein (@samstein) May 18, 2017
I once spent a day interviewing with Roger Ailes for a job at Fox. He was a disgusting scumbag. I'm glad he can't hurt people anymore.
— Xeni (@xeni) May 18, 2017
Ailes' media genius was realizing that talk is cheap — and compelling — while facts are expensive. He made a business from cheap talk.
— Jeff Jarvis (@jeffjarvis) May 18, 2017
Other media members are respecting the death of the former Fox News CEO:
He wasn't perfect, but Roger Ailes was my friend & I loved him. Not sure I would have been President w/o his great talent, loyal help. RIP.
— George Bush (@GeorgeHWBush) May 18, 2017
For better or worse & the ignominious end 2 his reign at Fox News, the impact of Roger Ailes on American politics & media was indisputable.
— David Axelrod (@davidaxelrod) May 18, 2017
Roger Ailes founded one of the most important and successful media outlets in American history. I will miss his friendship dearly. RIP.
— Laura Ingraham (@IngrahamAngle) May 18, 2017
"Now is the perfect time for me to share my controversial opinion on Roger Ailes" — Everybody on Twitter, apparently
— Peter J. Hasson (@peterjhasson) May 18, 2017
Imagine thousands of people celebrating Chris Cornell's death. Unspeakably awful, right? Now watch the left's reaction to Roger Ailes' death
— Dan O'Donnell (@DanODonnellShow) May 18, 2017
I notice that many of the same people who mourned Ted Kennedy are celebrating the death of Roger Ailes.
— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) May 18, 2017
I've known Roger Ailes for over 30 years. We've fought, debated and exchanged war stories. He had real passion and a master strategist for
— Reverend Al Sharpton (@TheRevAl) May 18, 2017
what he believed. We didn't agree on much and I protested him many times. However his impact on US Culture is undeniable. He is a study !
— Reverend Al Sharpton (@TheRevAl) May 18, 2017
I want to spend some time remembering Roger Ailes. Listen now https://t.co/pkdyC33lfO
— Glenn Beck (@glennbeck) May 18, 2017
— CBS News (@CBSNews) May 18, 2017
4/4 The good Roger did for America is immeasurable. May he rest in peace.
— Brent Bozell (@BrentBozell) May 18, 2017
Whatever Roger Ailes’ flaws and misdeeds, his loved ones are in pain now. May he RIP and they find peace as well.
— Jim Geraghty (@jimgeraghty) May 18, 2017
Whatever your thoughts on him Roger Ailes was the single most influential political-media figure of our times
— jimrutenberg (@jimrutenberg) May 18, 2017
Ailes was a political and media genius. Some light, some dark, but undeniably a genius and consequential in politics and media.
— Rick Wilson (@TheRickWilson) May 18, 2017
It is not an overstatement that without Roger Ailes, there is no Donald Trump
— Chris Cillizza (@ChrisCillizza) May 18, 2017
Ailes started his career as a staffer on “The Mike Douglas Show” back in 1962 and was the program’s executive producer by 1967. While working on the program, Ailes developed a relationship with Richard Nixon and eventually worked on his presidential campaign.
He has been a prominent member of the GOP ever since, working on several campaigns including George H.W. Bush’s successful 1988 presidential bid. He withdrew from political consulting in 1992, but is rumored to have advised Republican leaders in the years since, notably George W. Bush following the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
The former Fox News boss is also credited with bringing opinion back to news coverage, starting with America’s Talking, an NBC-owned network that eventually became CNBC. Ailes has also produced Broadway plays, served as president of CNBC and hosted a short-lived talk show during his career.
Ailes was named the founding CEO of Fox News in 1996 and the network quickly gained popularity while he called the shots. Fox News is now regularly among the most-watched networks in all of cable and dominates the cable news category.