Alisyn Camerota Accuses Roger Ailes of Harassment at Fox News
Fox News faced new sexual harassment allegations on Sunday as Alisyn Camerota, a former anchor, accused the former Fox News chief Roger E. Ailes of saying “grossly inappropriate” things to her and once inviting her to a hotel room when she asked for new opportunities at work.
Mr. Ailes was ousted in July from the network he built into a conservative media powerhouse after multiple employees, including the former anchor Gretchen Carlson, accused him of sexual harassment. Ms. Camerota added her voice to that chorus on Sunday during an interview on the CNN show “Reliable Sources.”
“Yes, Roger Ailes did sexually harass me,” she said.
“I remember being in Roger’s office saying I wanted more opportunities,” Ms. Camerota recalled, “and he said: ‘Well, I would have to work with you — I would have to work with you really closely — and it may require us getting to know each other better, and that might have to happen away from here. And it might have to happen at a hotel. Do you know what I am saying?’”
Susan Estrich, a lawyer for Mr. Ailes, denied Ms. Camerota’s claims in a statement to CNN.
“These are unsubstantiated and false allegations,” Ms. Estrich said. “Mr. Ailes never engaged in the inappropriate conversations she now claims occurred, and he vigorously denies this fictional account of her interactions with him and of Fox News’s editorial policy.”
Mr. Ailes resigned from Fox News after a law firm hired by 21st Century Fox, the network’s parent company, took statements from at least six women who said he had behaved inappropriately toward them. But the network’s sexual harassment problems did not go away when he did.
Bill O’Reilly, a two-decade fixture at the network and the host of its most popular program, was forced out last week after a New York Times investigation found that Fox or Mr. O’Reilly had paid five women about $13 million to settle harassment claims against him. Public protests, some outside Fox’s New York office, led to an advertiser revolt.
Mr. O’Reilly has not appeared on television in almost two weeks but is set to make his first on-air comments since his exit on his podcast, “No Spin News.” An advertisement for the podcast, which requires a paid subscription, appeared on his personal website, declaring: “Monday. The No Spin News returns.”
On Sunday, Ms. Camerota, who worked at Fox News for more than 15 years before joining CNN in 2014, said that she had decided to ignore Mr. Ailes’s advances in an attempt to forge ahead with her career, but that she had soon begun to suffer “emotional harassment” at the hands of her boss. She said Mr. Ailes would angrily “boom and bellow” at her when he thought she was failing to inject conservative commentary into her news reports.
“He targeted me because he sort of figured out early on that I didn’t share his worldview,” said Ms. Camerota, who added she did not want to include a political slant in her reporting. She said Mr. Ailes repeatedly told her, “You could be a real role model and a real star if only you could sound conservative.”
Ms. Camerota said on Sunday that she was hopeful the departure of both Mr. Ailes and Mr. O’Reilly meant Fox News might develop a stricter attitude toward sexual harassment. Mr. Ailes’s behavior “certainly had an impact in terms of the culture and the feeling there,” she said.
“Roger was the king, and obviously everything trickled down from him,” Ms. Camerota said. “So when he said grossly inappropriate things about women’s bodies, there was a feeling there that that’s more appropriate, and you’re not going to get in trouble for that.”
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