Ex-Fox News Honcho Roger Ailes Dead At 77

Fox News reported Thursday morning that its founder, Roger Ailes, has died at the age of 77.

Ailes, who worked on the campaigns of Presidents Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, became the founding chief executive of Fox News in 1996. He built the scrappy cable company into a ratings powerhouse, permanently changing the media landscape with a mix of right-wing commentary and hard news.

Ailes was ousted last summer from the company he helped build following accusations of serial sexual harassment and retaliation against female employees who rebuffed his advances—a pattern that allegedly lasted for decades. After more than 25 women accused him, he left with a severance package of tens of millions of dollars. An ongoing federal investigation into Fox News revealed that Ailes surveilled both his own employees and outside journalists who reported critically on his leadership.

Ailes then spent a few months as an adviser for Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, before the men had a falling out in the final weeks of the race.

Ailes family has not yet provided details of the cause of death. His widow, Elizabeth Ailes, released the following statement: “Roger was a loving husband to me, to his son Zachary, and a loyal friend to many. He was also a patriot, profoundly grateful to live in a country that gave him so much opportunity to work hard, to rise—and to give back.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Alice Ollstein is a reporter at Talking Points Memo, covering national politics. She graduated from Oberlin College in 2010 and has been reporting in DC ever since, covering the Supreme Court, Congress and national elections for TV, radio, print, and online outlets. Her work has aired on Free Speech Radio News, All Things Considered, Channel News Asia, and Telesur, and her writing has been published by The Atlantic, La Opinión, and The Hill Rag. She was elected in 2016 as an at-large board member of the DC Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. Alice grew up in Santa Monica, California and began working for local newspapers in her early teens.
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