NEW YORK — Former Fox News Channel anchor Gretchen Carlson settled her sexual harassment lawsuit against Roger Ailes for a reported $20 million and a public apology Tuesday, ending the case that triggered the downfall of Fox’s chief executive.
Filed two months ago, Carlson’s lawsuit alleged that she was demoted and let go at Fox because she rejected Ailes’ sexual advances and complained about workplace harassment.
In a statement, Fox parent company 21st Century Fox said, “We regret and apologize for the fact that Gretchen was not treated with the respect and dignity that she and all of our colleagues deserve.”
Carlson was paid $20 million, according to a person familiar with the settlement who spoke on condition of anonymity because the terms of the agreement were confidential.
The former Miss America spent several years on the “Fox & Friends” morning show before being shifted to the afternoon and told in June that her contract wasn’t being renewed.
Carlson said she is ready to move on to the next chapter in her life and promised to work to help women in the workplace. She thanked “all the brave women” who came forward to tell their own stories and others who supported her.
“All women deserve a dignified and respectful workplace,” she said.
Ailes, who denied Carlson’s allegations when the lawsuit was filed, had no statement Tuesday, his lawyer said.
Carlson’s case led 21st Century Fox to launch its own investigation, and other women came forward with stories of being harassed by Ailes, including Fox News star Megyn Kelly. A few women told their stories publicly.
Two weeks later, Ailes was gone, reportedly with a $40 million payout, and is said to be informally advising Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.
Ailes was hired by Rupert Murdoch to build Fox News from scratch in 1996. He built it into a dominant news network and a force in Republican politics.
Murdoch recently named veteran Fox executives Jack Abernethy and Bill Shine as the network’s new co-presidents.
Van Susteren out as Fox News host
NEW YORK — Greta Van Susteren has abruptly quit after 14 years as a prime-time anchor at Fox News Channel, saying that Fox “has not felt like home to me for a few years.”
Starting Tuesday, she’s being temporarily replaced in her 7 p.m. ET time slot by Fox veteran Brit Hume, at least through the election.
Word of the surprise shake-up in what has been cable TV news’ most stable and successful lineup was announced only minutes after the settlement of former Fox anchor Gretchen Carlson’s harassment lawsuit against deposed Fox News chief Roger Ailes.
Van Susteren, in a Facebook post, did not say what she meant by Fox News not feeling like home anymore. She had defended Ailes in an interview with The Daily Beast in the immediate aftermath of Carlson’s lawsuit, saying she had known nothing of the alleged behavior. The Washington-based lawyer said Tuesday that she took advantage of a contractual clause allowing her to leave and since it had a time limitation, she could not wait.
Fox did not explain Van Susteren’s exit, although a person close to the situation who spoke on condition of anonymity described it as a financial disagreement.
Van Susteren, who came to Fox from CNN after establishing herself among the commentators on the O.J. Simpson trial, said on Facebook that she hoped to continue her career in broadcasting.
She held down the 10 p.m. time slot at Fox for many years, but her “On the Record” show was switched to 7 p.m. when Fox wanted to make room in prime time for Megyn Kelly. Kelly took over at 9 p.m. and Sean Hannity was moved to 10 p.m.
Van Susteren’s departure came at a time many Fox watchers were focused on other potential changes at the network. Fox mainstay Bill O’Reilly, who turns 67 on Saturday, has mused publicly about the idea of retirement, and it’s unclear how Ailes’ departure will affect him. Kelly’s contract expires later this year, and Fox dearly wants to keep her. Hannity’s vocal support of Donald Trump has made him a controversial figure in the conservative media.
Hume, 73, is a senior political commentator for Fox and had been the network’s primary news anchor before stepping aside in 2008. He said he’s taking on Van Susteren’s show through the election.
Fox’s co-presidents, Jack Abernethy and Bill Shine, said in a statement that “we are grateful for Greta’s many contributions over the years and wish her continued success.”