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It’s only been a day since Gretchen Carlson filed a sexual harassment suit against her former employer, and already the former Fox News anchor is making waves in the news cycle.
In a suit filed Wednesday, Carlson claims she was fired from Fox & Friends as retaliation for rebuffing Fox News chairman and CEO Roger Ailes’ sexual advances and that she endured pervasive harassment in the workplace.
The longtime employee, who arrived at Fox News in 2005 and worked at the cable news channel for 11 years, said in the complaint that she and Ailes had a meeting about her contract being up in June of 2016. She claims she rebuffed Ailes’ sexual demands during the meeting and nine months later, her career was terminated.
The complaint goes on to reveal that in 2009, she complained to a Fox & Friends supervisor about her co-host Steve Doocy allegedly creating “a hostile work environment” and “refusing to accept and treat her as an intelligent and insightful female journalist rather than a blond female prop.”
The complaints allegedly went nowhere, with Carlson claiming that she was called a “man hater” by Ailes. She says she was fired from Fox & Friends in 2013 and reassigned. Most recently, she was leading The Real Story With Gretchen Carlson.
Ailes was quick to fire back on Wednesday, calling Carlson’s “defamatory” lawsuit “offensive” and “wholly without merit.” The network’s parent company, 21st Century Fox, announced that they were launching an internal investigation.
With all eyes on Carlson, here are six surprising facts about the woman behind the lawsuit that show what Fox News is up against.
1. She Was Crowned Miss America in 1989
Competing as Miss Minnesota, Carlson, then a senior at Stanford University, won the Miss America beauty pageant in 1989. Carlson, who is a trained classical violinist and performed Pablo de Sarasate’s Ziguenerweisen for her talent portion, said she entered in hopes of conveying that the event is more than a beauty pageant.
After her win, she said the judges never asked her the most important question. “I wanted them to ask, ‘Why do you want to be Miss America?'” she said. “Because I wanted to look right back at them and say, ‘Because I am what you need. I am a career woman. I am the role model for the women today. I am not a beauty queen. I go to Stanford, and I have been to Oxford, and I plan to go to Harvard Law School. I have a real talent. I didn’t make one up.'”
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