Fired Fox anchor Gretchen Carlson's explosive and surprising sex harassment lawsuit against Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes
has triggered a flood of similar complaints from as many as 10 former female employees, Carlson’s attorney claims.
The charges threaten to turn the TV executive "into this year's answer to Bill Cosby," Lloyd Grove reports for the The Daily Beast
, citing one unnamed sex harassment victim who made the comparison with the scandal-scarred comedian.
"It might be," Carlson's lawyer, Nancy Erika Smith, tells The Daily Beast. "Since about 11 a.m., we have been contacted by many women who say they were harassed by Roger Ailes and they’ve reached out to us. There are maybe around 10 women who’ve said, 'I’ve been a victim, too.'"
Smith has not revealed the names of any the women and was unavailable for an interview Thursday, her publicist tells Newsmax.
The Daily Beast reported that several former staffers anonymously blasted Ailes' behavior toward women, including a Fox ex-employee who alleged Ailes verbally harassed her with during one-on-one meetings, but gets away with the behavior because "when it comes to this issue, there's already a conspiracy of silence."
Another former Fox News worker who alleged "When I met Ailes he wouldn't stop staring at my legs, and at one point he asked if I was single."
The Daily Beast notes that in her 2015 memoir "Getting Real," Carlson praised Ailes as "the most accessible boss I've ever worked for," "brilliant" and "razor sharp," adding, "We seemed to have a real connection."
Ailes issued a statement Wednesday hitting back at the suit and allegations:
"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. 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."
But in a statement to Newsmax, Carlson's lawyers, Smith and Martin Hyman, countered Ailes' claims, noting Ailes' "claim that Gretchen Carlson was terminated because of bad ratings is demonstrably false."
Her lawyers claimed that Carlson’s "total viewership was up 33 percent year to date and up 23 percent in the key demographic....
"After her firing from Fox & Friends for complaining about discrimination, Gretchen was moved to a challenging time slot and denied support and promotion. Despite this, she succeeded and was the number one cable news show in her time slot in total viewers."
Fox News' parent company, 21st Century Fox also released a statement Wednesday, saying, "The company has seen the allegations against Mr. Ailes and Mr. Doocy," referring to Steve Doocy, who was Carlson's co-host on "Fox & Friends" and is cited in her filing against Ailes.
"We take these matters seriously. While we have full confidence in Mr. Ailes and Mr. Doocy, who have served the company brilliantly for over two decades, we have commenced an internal review of the matter."
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