After several media outlets reported that Fox News CEO Roger Ailes was out amid swirling allegations of sexual harassment, spokespeople for Fox parent company 21st Century Fox shot down those reports, saying Ailes was at his desk Tuesday afternoon.
The news originated with an “exclusive” on the conservative link aggregator site Drudge Report, which other outlets then appeared to confirmed.
While the site’s signature blaring siren landing page featured the breaking headline “EXCLUSIVE: AILES LEAVES FOXNEWS $40+ MILLION PARACHUTE,” no source was immediately provided.
Matt Drudge, the site’s founder, tweeted out what appeared to be Ailes’ severance agreement with Fox News before deleting the message around 15 minutes later.
The great backtracking on the explosive news continued.
After the Daily Beast reported confirmation of Ailes’ exit from Fox News, the network “subsequently walked back that confirmation” to the site. Variety, the entertainment trade publication, was reporting an announcement about Ailes’ departure was “imminent.”
Around 5 p.m. ET, Drudge Report’s landing page headline had been significantly dialled back to spotlight ongoing “drama” at Fox.
On Twitter, 21st Century Fox said: “Roger is at work. The review is ongoing. And the only agreement that is in place is his existing employment agreement.”
Fox News did not immediately respond to a request for comment from TPM Tuesday afternoon.
News of Ailes’ split from the network comes after Gretchen Carlson, a former Fox News host, filed a lawsuit July 6 against the conservative media kingpin accusing him of years of sexual harassment and retaliation before ultimately pushing her out.
Media mogul Rupert Murdoch, joined by his sons, had reportedly agreed it was time for Ailes to go after reviewing early findings from an investigation into Ailes’ conduct, which was set in motion by Carlson’s suit.
On Tuesday, New York Magazine reported that Megyn Kelly, one of the network’s most beloved primetime stars, had also said Ailes sexually harassed her when she was a young correspondent with the network.
This story has been updated.
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