Carlson, a former co-host of Fox & Friends, was fired on June 23 despite the fact that her show The Real Story with Gretchen Carlson was the leading cable news show in its afternoon time slot. In the lawsuit, filed Wednesday in New Jersey Superior Court, Carlson alleges that she was terminated because she refused to sleep with Ailes and, "tried to challenge what she felt was unequal treatment of her in the newsroom by some of her male colleagues."
In a meeting last September with Ailes, in which Carlson brought up her treatment in the newsroom, her boss allegedly told her: "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. ... Sometimes problems are easier to solve [that way]."
Carlson, who worked at Fox News for 11 years, believes Ailes retaliated against her after she reported sexist behavior on the part of her Fox & Friends co-host Steve Doocy by removing her from Fox & Friends and replacing her with Elisabeth Hasselbeck. Carlson was moved to a 2 p.m. time slot to host The Real Story with Gretchen Carlson, at a "significantly" lower pay rate. She claims that Ailes called her a "man hater," and also made numerous comments about her physical appearance, and complained about his marriage during the time of her employment.
Ailes has denied all of Carlson's claims, and issued the following statement Wednesday: "Gretchen Carlson's allegations are false. This is a retaliatory suit for the network's decision not to renew her contract, which was due to the fact that her disappointingly low ratings were dragging down the afternoon lineup. When Fox News did not commence any negotiations to renew her contract, Ms. Carlson became aware that her career with the network was likely over and conveniently began to pursue a lawsuit. Ironically, FOX News provided her with more on-air opportunities over her 11 year tenure than any other employer in the industry, for which she thanked me in her recent book. This defamatory lawsuit is not only offensive, it is wholly without merit and will be defended vigorously."
Carlson is seeking an undisclosed amount of compensatory and punitive damages. She has not addressed the lawsuit publicly, but posted on Twitter and Facebook on Wednesday, asking her fans to please keep in touch: