Fox News has reached a settlement with former host Gretchen Carlson, who sued the company’s former CEO Roger Ailes for sexual harassment.
In an unusual step on Tuesday, its parent company 21st Century Fox issued a statement apologizing to the Minnesota native for the treatment she received at the company, which is believed to have been a requirement of the settlement.
“21st Century Fox is pleased to announce that it has settled Gretchen Carlson’s lawsuit. During her tenure at Fox News, Gretchen exhibited the highest standards of journalism and professionalism. She developed a loyal audience and was a daily source of information for many Americans. 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.”
Carlson herself commented in the statement, saying she is “gratified” 21st Century Fox took “decisive action” in the wake of her complaint – which saw Ailes step down as CEO – and added: “I’m ready to move on to the next chapter of my life in which I will redouble my efforts to empower women in the workplace.”
“I want to thank all the brave women who came forward to tell their own stories and the many people across the country who embraced and supported me in their #StandWithGretchen,” she said. “All women deserve a dignified and respectful workplace in which talent, hard work and loyalty are recognized, revered and rewarded.”
Vanity Fair reports that Fox settled with Carlson for $20 million – with the company effectively acting as the insurer for Ailes, even though the lawsuit was taken out against him personally.
The magazine reports that as part of the settlement, Carlson will agree not to bring any further legal action against Fox News executives or the company itself.
Carlson, originally from Anoka, says in the lawsuit that she was fired from her “Fox and Friends” hosting job in 2013 and demoted within the company after she refused Ailes’ sexual advances.
She says Ailes retaliated against her rejection by “ostracizing, marginalizing and shunning her,” and said her problems would be solved if “she had a sexual relationship with him.”
She also claimed she had been subjected to sexual harassment from other members of the Fox team.