21st Century Fox today announced that Roger Ailes, Chairman and CEO of Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network, and Chairman of Fox Television Stations, has resigned from his role effective immediately following sexual harassment allegations. Rupert Murdoch, 85, will assume the role of Chairman and acting CEO of Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network.
Ailes, 76, is credited for redefining television news and making Fox News an influential platform for Republican politics by hiring hosts like Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity and enforcing a conservative editorial point of view. Ailes will receive close to a reported $40 million as part of a settlement agreement, according to a person with knowledge of the matter, and cannot start a competitor to Fox News. He will continue to make himself available as an adviser to Mr. Murdoch on an interim basis, but will not be directly involved with Fox News or its owner, 21st Century Fox.
Ailes’s position at Fox News was thrown into doubt two weeks ago after a former anchor, Gretchen Carlson, filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against him. Ailes denied the accusations, but 21st Century Fox began an internal review and ultimately determined that he could no longer remain in the job.
Said Nita Chaudhary, co-founder of UltraViolet, a national women’s advocacy organization that had called for Ailes to be fired, in a statement:
“While we are glad to see Roger Ailes step down from his position at Fox News, sending him off with zero accountability and a big check is a slap in the face to the dozens of women he harassed during his tenure as CEO and does nothing to fundamentally change the culture of Fox News that he created.
“Fox News must continue its investigation into all claims of sexual harassment and hold the perpetrators accountable for their actions.
“We applaud Gretchen Carlson and the other women at Fox News who had the courage to speak out about their experiences, seek justice and hold a serial sexual harasser accountable.”