— CNN (@CNN) April 23, 2017
Fox News gave its former CEO, Roger Ailes, the boot last fall after Gretchen Carlson revealed that she secretly recorded his lewd comments and predatory advances during closed-door office conversations. Since then, several other women have lodged similar claims against Ailes, and the subject returned to the news with Bill O’Reilly’s firing last week. As such, CNN’s Alisyn Camerota decided that this was a good time to speak out about the culture she experienced during her decade at Fox News.
Camerota previously alluded to her discomfort with Ailes (calling him “a scary person to work for”), but during a visit to Brian Stelter’s Reliable Sources, the conversation went much deeper. Stelter mentioned that Camerota publicly declared that O’Reilly never sexually harassed her, but she didn’t do the same for Ailes, and there was a reason for her omission:
“Roger Ailes did sexually harass me …. [he] was … could be charming. He could be quite charismatic. He could be uproariously funny. He could also be a bit of a bully, and mean. And he also was often kind of grossly inappropriate with things that he would say. And I think that many of us experienced that. He would talk about body parts. He would say ‘Give me a spin.’ He would want to be greeted with a hug.”
Camerota specifically mentioned an incident in which she told Ailes that she’d like a position with greater responsibility, and he replied that the two would have to work together “really closely,” which would require time together out of the office that “might have to happen at a hotel — do you know what I’m saying?”
She says she never told anyone about the incident out of embarrassment. The conversation also left her wondering that she’d soon be fired (because she had no intention of ever meeting Ailes in a hotel), which didn’t happen, but Camerota says that this led to a period of “emotional harassment” and more:
“Roger Ailes ruled with an iron fist, and he wanted us all to fall in line and have his world view and say the things that he wanted us to say on Fox News.”
In response to Camerota’s allegations against Ailes, his attorney (Susan Estrich) issued the following statement, which Stelter read on the air: