Former Fox News host Gretchen Carlson (Fox & Friends, The Real Story with Gretchen Carlson) is suing her former boss, Fox News CEO Roger Ailes. In her lawsuit, Carlson alleges her termination from the network on June 26 was retaliation for protesting unfair treatment by her male colleagues, particularly Steve Doocy, and also for refusing to begin a sexual relationship with the 76-year-old Ailes.
Carlson announced her departure from the network on the morning of July 6 on Facebook, and news of her lawsuit broke across the internet at almost the exact same minute. She had worked for Fox since 2005, after working for CBS from 2000-2005 and first rising to prominence as Miss America in 1989, and as a spokesperson for the March of Dimes. The fact that she was Miss America was apparently important to Ailes, because Carlson alleges that he embarrassed her in public once by bragging that he had "slept" with three Miss Americas but not Carlson.
Her best known program, the morning panel show Fox & Friends, was itself not immune from charges of sexism, including segments where they deemed the "lesson" of the Ray Rice domestic abuse elevator video was "take the stairs."
In her lawsuit, Carlson specifically claims that Ailes told her in September 2015, "I think you and I should have had a sexual relationship a long time ago, and then you'd be good and I'd be good and better," which, if true, is a super not-OK thing to say to an employee. The lawsuit states that Ailes allegedly added, "Sometimes problems are easier to solve that way."
But wait! There's more! Ailes would fantasize out loud about being stranded on a desert island with Carlson, and complain to her that his marriage was "boring." Here are a few more gems from the lawsuit:
But what about Steve Doocy, you ask? As usual, he's mostly accused of just being a massive tool. In Carlson's lawsuit, she accuses Doocy of “mocking her during commercial breaks, shunning her off air, refusing to engage with her on air, [and] belittling her contributions to the show."
Keep in mind, this is a man who hosted a segment where dads gawked at young women in tights to determine if the outfits were too sexy for their own daughters.
Carlson clearly had reservations about turning on the company that brought her to fame, but she wrote in a prepared statement, "I have strived to empower women and girls throughout my entire career... Although this was a difficult step to take, I had to stand up for myself and speak out for all women and the next generation of women in the workplace."
You can read Carlson's full lawsuit here.