Gretchen Carlson has signed with power publicist Cindi Berger, The Hollywood Reporter has learned. The announcement is expected late Tuesday, the same day news broke of Carlson’s $20 million settlement with Fox News.
Berger, co-chairman and CEO of PMK*BNC, will handle all aspects of Carlson’s personal PR and rebranding as she enters the next phase of her career, which will “include a television presence, penning a book, speaking engagements and philanthropy,” the company tells THR in a statement.
Berger, who represents Lena Dunham, Barbara Walters, Robert Redford and Rosie O’Donnell, will head up Carlson’s team along with veteran publicists Jodie Magid Oriol and Michael Donkis, who co-leads the agency’s entertainment strategy and development department, as well as talent publicist Michael Cohen. Kori Dyer from PMK*BNC’s digital arm, Vowel, will be rebuilding Carlson’s website and social media rebranding.
Carlson’s sexual harassment lawsuit against former Fox News chief Roger Ailes led to his ouster as a torrent of similar claims arose during parent 21st Century Fox’s internal investigation. In announcing the settlement on Tuesday, the company apologized for Carlson’s experience at the network: “We sincerely regret and apologize for the fact that Gretchen was not treated with the respect and dignity that she and all of our colleagues deserve.”
Carlson’s 11-year career at Fox News ended abruptly in June, after she was demoted from top-rated cable news morning show Fox & Friends to the lower-rated daytime hours in retaliation, she said in her lawsuit, for rebuffing Ailes’ sexual advances. A former Miss America and a devout Christian who taught Sunday school, Carlson is the mother of two children with husband Casey Close, a powerful sports agent who represents Derek Jeter, among others.
Carlson has become a feminist icon and symbol of equality in the workplace. In her 2015 book Getting Real, she wrote about harassing encounters with men when she was on the Miss America circuit and trying to break into television.
“It had never occurred to me, because I hadn’t experienced it, that there were people who thought women weren’t equal to men in the workplace — much less that some men would try to take advantage of me,” Carlson wrote.