This just in: Roger Ailes is just about out
Lawyers confirm talks are under way for the Fox News chief to exit
July 20, 2016
He looks to be a goner.
Ailes has been at the center of controversy over recent days following the filing of a lawsuit by former Fox News on-air talent Gretchen Carlson in which she charges the 76-year-old CEO with sexual harassment.
While Ailes and Fox News vigorously denied the allegations, higher-ups at parent 21 Century Fox took them seriously enough to launch an investigation into those and other similar charges.
What the investigation uncovered has not been made public, but word began leaking that the Murdoch triumvirate—Rupert and sons James and Lachlan—were ready to oust Ailes.
Now Ailes’ attorneys are confirming that their client is indeed negotiating his exit from the network he co-founded 20 years ago and built into the top cable news outlet.
Susan Estrich, one of those attorneys, told The New York Times that departure talks were well along, the aim being to achieve a smooth transition.
“Roger Ailes is committed to the future and success of Fox News, and he’s devoted the last 20 years of his life to building it and he hopes it will survive long past his time and Rupert’s time,” she told the paper. “Nobody is more committed to Fox News than the man who built it.”
Meanwhile, the Drudge Report briefly posted what it said was a copy of the pending separation agreement that would provide Ailes with a $40 million exit package and a consulting agreement.
Perhaps the big question no one is really addressing is this: Why now?
By all accounts, Ailes has been accused of sexually harassing women for decades, well before launching Fox, and that’s becoming more evident by the day as more women come forward.
Surely the elder Murdoch knew of the allegations.
Larger issues behind the exit of Roger Ailes
Two things have changed. One is that the elder Murdoch now shares control of his media empire with his two sons, and it appears they do not share their father’s deep loyalty to executives who help build that empire.
There are reports that one or both sons were looking to push Ailes out long before the Carlson suit.
Of course, a huge factor is one of his rumored accusers, Megyn Kelly. She’s seen as the future of Fox News, the most important person on the air right now. The Murdochs want to keep her at FNC and keep her happy. If that means booting Ailes, then, well, maybe it’s time.
Another thing that’s changed–and it actually changed some years back–is that Fox News is so successful that it can do well on its own, without Ailes. The Murdochs don’t need Ailes, and it may well be the case that they believe his iron-fisted management style is holding the network back.
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