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Gretchen Carlson’s sexual harassment lawsuit against ousted Fox News chief Roger Ailes, filed in July, may boast a previously unknown piece of evidence: tapes of Ailes making sexually inappropriate comments, recorded by Carlson on her iPhone.
In his bombshell New York magazine feature, Ailes chronicler Gabriel Sherman reports that Carlson began sneaking her iPhone into meetings with Ailes in 2014 to capture the executive making the sort of sexually suggestive remarks that Carlson had allegedly heard him make repeatedly in the past.
“I think you and I should have had a sexual relationship a long time ago, and then you’d be good and better and I’d be good and better,” Ailes said, according to the article.
Another purported line from Ailes to Carlson: “I’m sure you can do sweet nothings when you want to.”
Ailes has repeatedly denied all sexual harassment charges brought against him, though the Sherman report suggests that Ailes may settle out of court with Carlson for a lofty eight-figure sum. More than a dozen women have come forward to accuse of Ailes of sexual harassment, including former Fox anchor Andrea Tantaros, fomer Republican national committee field adviser Kellie Boyle and former model Marsha Callahan.
The Fox News Channel, a subsidiary of the Murdoch family-helmed 21st Century Fox, bid adieu to Ailes in July, about two weeks after the Carlson suit was filed on July 6. The network launched a speedy investigation into Ailes‘ conduct, the findings of which have yet to be released, and Rupert Murdoch assumed Ailes‘ position at the head of the network.
Neither Fox News nor a representative for Gretchen Carlson immediately responded to a request for comment for this article.
Other revelations from the New York article:
Carlson spent a full year making tapes. The recording scheme wasn’t a one-off sound bite grab, but a long-term effort to gather evidence of incriminating behaviors, should the need for protection arise.
Ailes had an emergency meeting with Rudy Giuliani. On July 9, after a New York report about six additional women who alleged that Roger Ailes sexually harassed them, Ailes, Giuliani and lawyer Marc Mukasey did a damage control session at Ailes‘ home in Garrison, New York.
Carlson’s lawyer, Nancy Erika Smith, told her IT department to prepare for a hack. Sherman writes: “Over the Fourth of July weekend, Smith instructed an IT technician to install software on her firm’s network and Carlson’s electronic devices to prevent the use of spyware by Fox. ‘We didn’t want to be hacked,’ Smith said.”
Ailes thought James Murdoch wanted him out so that Hillary Clinton would have an easier time getting elected. Writes Sherman: “Ailes complained to 21st Century Fox general counsel Gerson Zweifach that James, whose wife had worked for the Clinton Foundation, was trying to get rid of him in order to help elect Hillary Clinton.”
Ailes “ruled Fox News like a surveillance state.” Citing unnamed Fox executives, Sherman reports that Ailes “instructed Fox’s head of engineering, Warren Vandeveer, to install a CCTV system that allowed Ailes to monitor Fox offices, studios, greenrooms, the back entrance, and his homes. When Ailes spotted James Murdoch on the monitor smoking a cigarette outside the office, he remarked to his deputy Bill Shine, ‘Tell me that mouth hasn’t sucked a cock,’ according to an executive who was in the room; Shine laughed.”
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