21st Century Fox has paid $20 million to former Fox News host Gretchen Carlson to dispense with her sexual harassment suit against now-former Fox News chief Roger Ailes. The media company also issued an condign apology to Carlson, which includes this line: “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.”
In a chat with media correspondent Brian Stelter, CNN host Jake Tapper looked at that combination and declared that it “seems an awful lot like an admission of guilt.”
Indeed it does. In the face of overwhelming evidence, there’s just not a lot that network executives can do to defend the actions of Ailes.
But what about Steve Doocy? He’s a co-host of the industry-worst morning program “Fox & Friends,” and longtime collaborator with Carlson on that program. According to the complaint, Doocy “created a hostile work environment by regularly treating her in a sexist and condescending way, including by putting his hand on her and pulling down her arm to shush her during a live telecast.” Nor were those isolated incidents. There was a “pattern,” claims the Carlson complaint, of “mocking her during commercial breaks, shunning her off air, refusing to engage with her on air, belittling her contributions to the show, and generally attempting to put her in her place by refusing to accept and treat her as an intelligent and insightful female journalist rather than as a blond female prop.”
Carlson raised complaints about this conduct in 2009. When Ailes heard about the situation, he allegedly called her a “man hater” and urged her to “get along with the boys.” Ailes booted Carlson from “Fox & Friends” in 2013, moving her to her own afternoon slot.
The suit set in motion an inside investigation of Ailes’s treatment of women, resulting quickly in Ailes’s removal from Fox News. He’s now a private citizen who has resorted to threatening a journalist for breaking all manner of stories about his leadership.
For his part, Doocy remains on the “Fox & Friends” couch. There he was this morning, for example, talking about 9/11, Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton and other topics. We asked Fox News what’s in store for him. No comment.
At the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, the Erik Wemple Blog approached Doocy for comment on these matters. He kept moving, saying that he was talking to his wife on the phone.