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After Roger Ailes allegedly sexually harassed Gretchen Carlson, the Fox News TV host handwrote at least four friendly notes to her boss — even going so far as to draw smiley faces on some of them. And the network released those letters on Friday, presumably in an effort to prove Carlson was happy with her work and only sued because her contract wasn’t renewed.
“I’ve been a loyal employee whose worked really hard at Fox for more than 10 years. I’d love to stay at Fox & show you everything I can do,” Carlson wrote to Ailes in a thank-you note dated Sept. 21, five days after she says that she was sexually harassed by him.
According to a lawsuit Carlson filed on Wednesday, Ailes told her on Sept. 16: “I think you and I should have had a sexual relationship a long time ago, then you’d be good and better and I’d be good and better.”
Nov. 11, 2015
In a note dated Nov. 11, one day after Fox News scored high ratings in a GOP presidential debate, Carlson wrote to Ailes: “Great job on the debate last night!” and she thanked him “for offering me the opportunity to host the West Point Choir Christmas special,” which aired on Fox News several times from Dec. 23 to Christmas Day.
Oct. 9, 2015
In a note dated Oct. 9, Carlson asks for a shot at filling in for Greta Van Susteren or Megyn Kelly when those two primetime hosts are away. “Last night Sandra Smith filled in for MK. Why not me?” she asks, before closing her note with a smiley face.
Oct. 27, 2015
On Oct. 27, she began a note to Ailes with, “Hope you are great!” and ended it with, “Thanks as always for your support.”
According to industry sources, Carlson should have known by May 14 that Fox News probably wouldn’t be renewing her contract, since that’s the day an exclusive negotiating period ended without the network making her an offer. She was informed on or about June 23 she no longer had a job there and she was offered a severance package. She went on vacation June 27-July 4, during which time Fox News, out of respect for her, according to a source, made no effort on-air or on its website to inform its audience that she was no longer with the network.
Two days after she returned from vacation, she shocked the TV news industry with her sexual-harassment lawsuit against Ailes.
Carlson’s lawsuit also complains that she was taken off of the highly rated Fox & Friends when given her own afternoon show, The Real Story With Gretchen Carlson, then Fox News did not promote the show to her satisfaction, an issue addressed in one of her notes to Ailes.
“I’m happy my show continues to do well — & that you are open to helping me like a show like Outnumbered w promotion & media PR,” she wrote. She suggests a “standing slot” on The O’Reilly Factor and a once-a-week segment on Fox & Friends “to help promote my show.”
A source says her 2 p.m. show was not a demotion, but a chance to prove herself in the same time slot Kelly once held before she was promoted to primetime. Ailes, though, likely felt vindicated in his decision to let her go when, in June, she lost her time slot to CNN in the 25-54 demo.
“There is nothing in the notes that is inconsistent with Gretchen’s claims of harassment and retaliation,” Carlson’s attorneys, Nancy Erika Smith and Martin Hyman, said Friday in a statement. “They show that Gretchen was devoted to her career and confident in her abilities. She wanted the retaliation to stop so she could continue to do her job and return to the higher-profile assignments she had before she complained of harassment.”
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