Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Gretchen Carlson Gets $20M, Apology From Fox News

Gretchen Carlson
(Reuters) -- Fox News has reached a $20 million settlement of former anchor Gretchen Carlson's sexual harassment lawsuit against the network's former chief Roger Ailes, Vanity Fair said on Tuesday, citing three people familiar with the settlement.

The network also offered a public apology:  "21st Century Fox is pleased to announce that it has settled Gretchen Carlson's lawsuit," said in a statement. "During her tenure at Fox News, Gretchen exhibited the highest standards of journalism and professionalism. She developed a loyal audience and was a daily source of information for many Americans. We are proud that she was part of the Fox News team. We sincerely regret and apologize for the fact that Gretchen was not treated with the respect and dignity that she and all of our colleagues deserve."

It is unclear how much Ailes himself might pay, but Fox News, part of 21st Century Fox Inc, essentially insures Ailes against any settlement, the magazine said, citing two people familiar with the arrangement.

Carlson has voluntarily dismissed her federal lawsuit in New Jersey against Ailes, a court filing shows.

Though Carlson’s case was against Ailes personally, Fox is essentially his insurer for any settlement, according to two people familiar with the arrangement, and discussions between Ailes’s legal team and 21st Century Fox’s legal team became very tense regarding how much Ailes might pay in a settlement.

As part of the language at the end of the settlement, Carlson has agreed not to bring any further legal action against other executives at Fox News, or against the company itself.

The Wall Street Journal reports Carlson claimed her contract with the network wasn’t renewed as retaliation for her complaints about a hostile work atmosphere at Fox News and improper advances by Ailes.  Ailes had denied the charges, saying she was let go because of performance issues. He resigned as Fox News Channel’s chairman and chief executive in July, just over two weeks after Ms. Carlson filed her suit.

Former Fox News host Andrea Tantaros has also filed a lawsuit that accuses Ailes of sexually harassing her. Fox News has responded in a legal filing, describing Ms. Tantaros’s claims as “a smokescreen to obscure her violation of her employment contract.” Fox News also said that the former on-air personality “is not a victim, she’s an opportunist.”

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