Lefties rejoice as Gretchen Carlson sues Roger Ailes, alleging sexual harassment

I will confess that when I first heard about this story yesterday, I felt almost the same way as when many years ago a friend and neighbor told me she and her husband were getting a divorce.  Just sad for all the people involved.

The left, which hates Fox News for existing as a dissident voice among the progressive mainstream media, is rejoicing.  The Daily Kos, for example, exults over “a lawsuit which, early indications suggest, may very well turn into a even larger scandal[.]”  And at the HuffPo, Michelle Fields (remember her? the woman who has alleged physical mistreatment while reporting a number of times, most recently against Corey Lewandowski – until video evidence refuted her claims), quotes anonymous Fox News sources that Getchen wasn’t the first.

Obviously, I have no knowledge of whether or not the allegations in Carlson’s suit are true, but they include the following (via Kelsey Sutton of Politico):

• Ailes would ask Carlson to turn around while in his office so he could view her from behind.

• Ailes also regularly commented on Carlson’s appearance, particularly her legs, and would urge Carlson to wear certain outfits that he thought enhanced Carlson’s figure.

• Ailes told Carlson she was “sexy” but “too much hard work,” and told her, “I’m sure you can do sweet nothings when you want to.”

• Ailes wondered aloud how anyone could be married to Carlson, and said that marriage was “boring,” “hard,” and “not much fun.”

• Ailes told Carlson that if he could choose one person to be stranded with on a desert island, he would choose her.

• Ailes told other people in Carlson’s presence that he had slept with three winners of the Miss America pageant, but not Carlson (who won the Miss America pageant in 1989.) On a separate occasion, as Carlson walked over to greet him, Ailes said that he remained seated when women approached him to they had to “bend over” to speak to him.

• Ailes asked Carlson how she felt about him, and then said, “Do you understand what I’m saying to you?”

• When Carlson met with Ailes in 2015 over concerns of her treatment at the company, Ailes 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. At the same meeting, he told her that he could make anything happen for her if she listened and “underst[ood]” what he was saying.

The suit also details Carlson’s accusations against former “Fox & Friends” co-host Steve Doocy, though he is not named as a co-defendant in the suit. According to the complaint:

• Doocy made sexist and condescending remarks toward Carlson throughout the length of her stint on “Fox & Friends.” Per the complaint, “Doocy engaged in a pattern and practice of severe and pervasive sexual harassment of Carlson, including, but not limited to, mocking her during commercial breaks, shunning her off air, refusing to engage with her on air, belittling her contributions to the show, and generally attempting to put her in her place by refusing to accept and treat her as an intelligent and insightful female journalist rather than a blond female prop.”

• Carlson complained about Doocy’s behavior in September 2009. In response to Carlson’s complaints about Doocy’s behavior, Ailes told Carlson she was a “man hater” and “killer” and that she needed to learn to “get along with the boys.”

• Ailes told Carlson, in response to her complaints, that she needed to stop worrying about being treated equally and getting “offended so God damn easy about everything.” He also said she acted as though it “only rains on women,” and that she had tried to “show up the boys” on the morning show.

If Ailes tried to get Carlson into bed as a condition of continued employment, obviously that is heinous and actionable.  And a couple of the alleged remarks he may have made lean that way, though they are not completely explicit.  Bragging about bedding three Miss America winners is gross, and since Carlson also was in that group, it could be considered a proposition, I suppose.  But as someone whose career began as a beauty queen, the idea that Ailes critically appraising her looks is sexism seems a bit of a stretch.  I like Carlson, but more in a matronly sort of appreciation, at least as far as her looks go.  She reminds me of the moms I knew growing up in Minneapolis, which is where she is from, too.

As for the allegations against Doocy, they sound like typical career rivalry.

For its part, Fox News, as it must, is launching an investigation (that includes the allegations against Doocy as well) and has issued a statement denying the allegations:

The Fox News chairman issued this statement in response to the lawsuit Wednesday afternoon:

"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."

The obvious context in which all of this takes place is that Fox News places a premium on female beauty among its newsreaders.  To an embarrassing degree: ultra-short skirts and oiled legs crossed beneath a transparent desktop.  Now, as a heterosexual male, there are aspects of this policy that provide certain kinds of pleasure.  But it does not connote seriousness, and sometimes I feel sorry for the ladies who (I assume) are instructed to dress as hookers and sometimes (perhaps I am imagining) seem a little uncomfortable in that role. 

The ability to perform the function of eye candy for males, in other words, seems to be part of the job requirements at Fox News, at least for newsreaders.  Fox has a number of very serious, accomplished, smart female correspondents (Katherine Herridge and Jennifer Griffin, for example) who do not play the glam game.  But for those who sit at a desk or on a chair and read from teleprompters, the requirements seem to be different.

If I had to guess, this will settle out of court.  But in the meantime, Fox News is in for a rough patch, and its excellent original reporting will be dismissed – as it always has been – by the left, only with another kind of sneer.

I will confess that when I first heard about this story yesterday, I felt almost the same way as when many years ago a friend and neighbor told me she and her husband were getting a divorce.  Just sad for all the people involved.

The left, which hates Fox News for existing as a dissident voice among the progressive mainstream media, is rejoicing.  The Daily Kos, for example, exults over “a lawsuit which, early indications suggest, may very well turn into a even larger scandal[.]”  And at the HuffPo, Michelle Fields (remember her? the woman who has alleged physical mistreatment while reporting a number of times, most recently against Corey Lewandowski – until video evidence refuted her claims), quotes anonymous Fox News sources that Getchen wasn’t the first.

Obviously, I have no knowledge of whether or not the allegations in Carlson’s suit are true, but they include the following (via Kelsey Sutton of Politico):

• Ailes would ask Carlson to turn around while in his office so he could view her from behind.

• Ailes also regularly commented on Carlson’s appearance, particularly her legs, and would urge Carlson to wear certain outfits that he thought enhanced Carlson’s figure.

• Ailes told Carlson she was “sexy” but “too much hard work,” and told her, “I’m sure you can do sweet nothings when you want to.”

• Ailes wondered aloud how anyone could be married to Carlson, and said that marriage was “boring,” “hard,” and “not much fun.”

• Ailes told Carlson that if he could choose one person to be stranded with on a desert island, he would choose her.

• Ailes told other people in Carlson’s presence that he had slept with three winners of the Miss America pageant, but not Carlson (who won the Miss America pageant in 1989.) On a separate occasion, as Carlson walked over to greet him, Ailes said that he remained seated when women approached him to they had to “bend over” to speak to him.

• Ailes asked Carlson how she felt about him, and then said, “Do you understand what I’m saying to you?”

• When Carlson met with Ailes in 2015 over concerns of her treatment at the company, Ailes 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. At the same meeting, he told her that he could make anything happen for her if she listened and “underst[ood]” what he was saying.

The suit also details Carlson’s accusations against former “Fox & Friends” co-host Steve Doocy, though he is not named as a co-defendant in the suit. According to the complaint:

• Doocy made sexist and condescending remarks toward Carlson throughout the length of her stint on “Fox & Friends.” Per the complaint, “Doocy engaged in a pattern and practice of severe and pervasive sexual harassment of Carlson, including, but not limited to, mocking her during commercial breaks, shunning her off air, refusing to engage with her on air, belittling her contributions to the show, and generally attempting to put her in her place by refusing to accept and treat her as an intelligent and insightful female journalist rather than a blond female prop.”

• Carlson complained about Doocy’s behavior in September 2009. In response to Carlson’s complaints about Doocy’s behavior, Ailes told Carlson she was a “man hater” and “killer” and that she needed to learn to “get along with the boys.”

• Ailes told Carlson, in response to her complaints, that she needed to stop worrying about being treated equally and getting “offended so God damn easy about everything.” He also said she acted as though it “only rains on women,” and that she had tried to “show up the boys” on the morning show.

If Ailes tried to get Carlson into bed as a condition of continued employment, obviously that is heinous and actionable.  And a couple of the alleged remarks he may have made lean that way, though they are not completely explicit.  Bragging about bedding three Miss America winners is gross, and since Carlson also was in that group, it could be considered a proposition, I suppose.  But as someone whose career began as a beauty queen, the idea that Ailes critically appraising her looks is sexism seems a bit of a stretch.  I like Carlson, but more in a matronly sort of appreciation, at least as far as her looks go.  She reminds me of the moms I knew growing up in Minneapolis, which is where she is from, too.

As for the allegations against Doocy, they sound like typical career rivalry.

For its part, Fox News, as it must, is launching an investigation (that includes the allegations against Doocy as well) and has issued a statement denying the allegations:

The Fox News chairman issued this statement in response to the lawsuit Wednesday afternoon:

"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."

The obvious context in which all of this takes place is that Fox News places a premium on female beauty among its newsreaders.  To an embarrassing degree: ultra-short skirts and oiled legs crossed beneath a transparent desktop.  Now, as a heterosexual male, there are aspects of this policy that provide certain kinds of pleasure.  But it does not connote seriousness, and sometimes I feel sorry for the ladies who (I assume) are instructed to dress as hookers and sometimes (perhaps I am imagining) seem a little uncomfortable in that role. 

The ability to perform the function of eye candy for males, in other words, seems to be part of the job requirements at Fox News, at least for newsreaders.  Fox has a number of very serious, accomplished, smart female correspondents (Katherine Herridge and Jennifer Griffin, for example) who do not play the glam game.  But for those who sit at a desk or on a chair and read from teleprompters, the requirements seem to be different.

If I had to guess, this will settle out of court.  But in the meantime, Fox News is in for a rough patch, and its excellent original reporting will be dismissed – as it always has been – by the left, only with another kind of sneer.