Gretchen Carlson Treads Carefully on Fox News in New Book on Sexual Harassment

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Gretchen Carlson

Carlson's book, 'Be Fierce,' hit shelves Tuesday and includes an anecdote about a movie studio executive.

Gretchen Carlson, the former Fox News anchor who settled her lawsuit against the late Roger Ailes for $20 million, was upfront about her contractual limitations in writing her new book, Be Fierce: Stop Harassment and Take Your Power Back.

"Many people have heard about the sexual harassment case I filed against my former boss," she wrote in the introduction of her book, which came out Tuesday. "That lawsuit was settled, and there are things I can't discuss about it. That's the nature of a settlement. But when it was all over, I decided I wasn't ready to shut up and sit down."

The book, Carlson's second, is focused primarily on the issue of sexual harassment in the workplace and relays many of the stories Carlson said she received from people around the country in the wake of her much-publicized exit from Fox News. She also offered lessons to women considering lodging a complaint.

"If your case goes public, it will be 'litigated' in the media," she wrote. "People will say the worst things imaginable about you. Your parents and, worse still, your children, will be exposed to it."

Carlson relayed a particularly timely anecdote from a woman who said she had a bad experience with a movie studio executive when she was 21 and just starting a career in the business. The woman's "powerful boss" told her that she has "the best tits in Hollywood," Carlson wrote.

Because of the settlement she signed, Carlson's retelling of her story begins in the book almost immediately after the news of her lawsuit against Ailes broke. She wrote about driving into New York City for an appointment at a nail salon on the day she went public with her accusations. "I began to read about myself on Twitter and Facebook and Instagram as if I were having an out-of-body experience," Carlson wrote. "I sat there with tears streaming down my face. The nice lady helping me out was probably wondering what the heck was wrong with me."

Carlson also wrote about a touching moment at Newark Airport, when a flight attendant recognized her name as she was boarding her flight. "She paused and looked up at me with tears in her eyes, took my hand, and said, 'For all of us women — thank you,'" she wrote.

While Carlson focused mostly on other women's experiences in the book, she told a story about a New York-based television executive who lunged at her and kissed her against her will in the back of his private car. "Shocked and horrified, I wrestled out of his grasp," she wrote. "I ran to the apartment building, and by the time I got inside, I was sobbing. I felt stupid and unnerved. Why would he do that? How had I believed he was truly interested in my talent?'" The experience occurred during Carlson's reign as Miss America 1989.

But, despite retelling the broad strokes of her experience after leaving Fox News, Carlson is unsurprisingly stingy with details about what happened while working at the network. And during public appearances to promote her book, Carlson has been very careful to avoid talking directly about Ailes or Fox News.

A spokeswoman for Carlson's publisher, Hachette Book Group, did not respond to a question about how she would be able to manage to avoid discussing the details of her experience while on her extensive book tour.

While not mentioning Fox News directly, Carlson wrote in the book, "Looking back, I think my body was telling me to leave before my mind caught up with it."