Ex-Fox News Host Gretchen Carlson Sues Roger Ailes For Sexual Harassment

UPDATED: July 7, 2016, 7:53 AM ET, to add a statement from Ailes.

Gretchen Carlson, until last month a Fox News host, alleged in a lawsuit filed Wednesday that Fox News boss Roger Ailes fired her from the network after she rebuffed his sexual advances for months.

The lawsuit was filed in the Superior Court of New Jersey in Bergen County, where Ailes lives. The Fox News chairman is the only defendant named in the suit.

According to the civil complaint, Ailes began “ostracizing, marginalizing, and shunning” Carlson when she refused to have a sexual relationship with him. When Carlson met with Ailes to discuss her treatment in September 2015, he told her, “I think you and I should have had a sexual relationship a long time ago,” and said “sometimes problems are easier to solve” that way, the complaint alleged.

As a “Fox & Friends” co-host in 2009, Carlson reported co-host Steve Doocy to her supervisor for fostering a hostile work environment by engaging in a pattern of “severe and pervasive sexual harassment” of Carlson, the complaint said.

When he learned of Carlson’s complaints about Doocy, Ailes slammed her as a “man hater” and advised her to learn how to “get along with the boys.”

In response to Carlson’s repeated refusal to engage in a sexual relationship with him, Ailes fired Carlson from “Fox & Friends” in 2013 and moved her to a solo show in the afternoon, the complaint alleged. After the move, Carlson alleged, she saw her pay cut, workload increase, and promotional support from the network curtailed.

Ailes also allegedly made repeated comments about Carlson’s body, urged her to wear form-fitting clothing, and embarrassed her in front of other attendees at an event by making sexual remarks about getting women to “bend over” to greet him.

The complaint also details how Ailes allegedly complained about his marriage to Carlson, a married mother of two, calling his relationship “boring,” “hard,” and “not much fun.”

In response to speaking out about Ailes’ alleged sexual harassment, the complaint said Carlson’s pay was cut to levels “greatly disproportionate” to her male colleagues and her opportunity to guest on other Fox News shows “severely” slashed.

Carlson confirmed online Wednesday that she is was no longer employed by Fox.

In a statement released Wednesday evening, Ailes said Carlson’s allegations are “false” and maintained her contract was not renewed over poor ratings.

Here’s the full statement from Ailes, provided to TPM:

Gretchen Carlson’s allegations are false. This is a retaliatory suit for the network’s decision not to renew her contract, which was due to the fact that her disappointingly low ratings were dragging down the afternoon lineup. When Fox News did not commence any negotiations to renew her contract, Ms. Carlson became aware that her career with the network was likely over and conveniently began to pursue a lawsuit. Ironically, FOX News provided her with more on-air opportunities over her 11-year tenure than any other employer in the industry, for which she thanked me in her recent book. This defamatory lawsuit is not only offensive, it is wholly without merit and will be defended vigorously.

Read the full complaint:

This story has been updated.

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