Sources: Roger Ailes negotiating exit as Fox News chief

Several media sources are reporting that Fox News CEO Roger Ailes is negotiating his exit following several allegations of sexual harassment.

While there have been reports that the outline of a deal has been finalized, an attorney for Ailes says he has not signed off on any package.

Daily Beast:

"There is no deal about anything at this point,” Estrich said. “Nobody’s got one right now,” she added concerning the generous severance package mentioned in the detailed document which Matt Drudge posted on Twitter. “We don’t know how that term sheet got there, but it is not an accurate or final term sheet about anything.”

Estrich said she didn’t know how Drudge obtained the term sheet or who provided it, but said many different draft versions exist in PDF form and Ailes has agreed to none of them.

“Roger had never seen that term sheet,” she said. “There were so many PDFs lying around.”

21st Century Fox, meanwhile, issued a statement batting down reports—stoked by a headline in The Drudge Report—that Ailes is abruptly leaving the cable network with a $40 million parachute.

“Roger is at work,” the statement said. “The review is ongoing. And the only agreement that is in place is his existing employment agreement.”

Ailes’s departure could initially cause big problems for the network.

The Financial Times reported that Fox News prime-time stars Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity and Greta Van Susteren have clauses in their contracts that would permit them to follow Ailes to the exit.

Carlson’s July 6 legal action in New Jersey Superior Court—filed after her contract was not renewed and she was unceremoniously sacked on June 23—prompted 21st Century Fox to engage the blue chip law firm Paul Weiss to conduct an internal review of her allegations, and those of other potential accusers who have reportedly trekked to the law firm’s Manhattan offices to submit to confidential interviews.

Among the Fox employees reported to have talked to the Paul Weiss lawyers—and, according to New York magazine, claimed Ailes sexually harassed her when she was a cub legal reporter a decade ago—is prime-time star Megyn Kelly.

The 45-year-old Kelly—a former litigator who is one of the few high-profile women at Fox who didn’t publicly defend Ailes against Carlson’s allegations—didn’t respond to a request for comment.

It's amazing that after 20 years, sexual harassment allegations are just surfacing now.  If, as Ann Coulter alleges, "every woman who has ever been employed by Fox" has harassment allegations to make against Ailes, you would think that other lawsuits would have been filed years ago.

But Carlson's accusations are detailed and ring true.  And the timing of her firing is suspect as well.

As a media company, the last thing Fox needs is this kind of publicity.  If Ailes is negotiating his departure, it would be a huge hit to Fox News.  The exit of O'Reilly, Hannity, and Van Susteren would destroy its powerhouse prime-time lineup, which gives the network its #1 ranking among cable news outlets.  It's significant that all three stars have backed Ailes, which could mean a mass exodus of talent from the network.

Might Murdoch circle the wagons and look to ride the storm out?  Given the consequences of Ailes's exit, it's a distinct possibility.  But regardless of he stays or goes, Ailes's reputation has taken a blow from which it will be difficult to recover.

Several media sources are reporting that Fox News CEO Roger Ailes is negotiating his exit following several allegations of sexual harassment.

While there have been reports that the outline of a deal has been finalized, an attorney for Ailes says he has not signed off on any package.

Daily Beast:

"There is no deal about anything at this point,” Estrich said. “Nobody’s got one right now,” she added concerning the generous severance package mentioned in the detailed document which Matt Drudge posted on Twitter. “We don’t know how that term sheet got there, but it is not an accurate or final term sheet about anything.”

Estrich said she didn’t know how Drudge obtained the term sheet or who provided it, but said many different draft versions exist in PDF form and Ailes has agreed to none of them.

“Roger had never seen that term sheet,” she said. “There were so many PDFs lying around.”

21st Century Fox, meanwhile, issued a statement batting down reports—stoked by a headline in The Drudge Report—that Ailes is abruptly leaving the cable network with a $40 million parachute.

“Roger is at work,” the statement said. “The review is ongoing. And the only agreement that is in place is his existing employment agreement.”

Ailes’s departure could initially cause big problems for the network.

The Financial Times reported that Fox News prime-time stars Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity and Greta Van Susteren have clauses in their contracts that would permit them to follow Ailes to the exit.

Carlson’s July 6 legal action in New Jersey Superior Court—filed after her contract was not renewed and she was unceremoniously sacked on June 23—prompted 21st Century Fox to engage the blue chip law firm Paul Weiss to conduct an internal review of her allegations, and those of other potential accusers who have reportedly trekked to the law firm’s Manhattan offices to submit to confidential interviews.

Among the Fox employees reported to have talked to the Paul Weiss lawyers—and, according to New York magazine, claimed Ailes sexually harassed her when she was a cub legal reporter a decade ago—is prime-time star Megyn Kelly.

The 45-year-old Kelly—a former litigator who is one of the few high-profile women at Fox who didn’t publicly defend Ailes against Carlson’s allegations—didn’t respond to a request for comment.

It's amazing that after 20 years, sexual harassment allegations are just surfacing now.  If, as Ann Coulter alleges, "every woman who has ever been employed by Fox" has harassment allegations to make against Ailes, you would think that other lawsuits would have been filed years ago.

But Carlson's accusations are detailed and ring true.  And the timing of her firing is suspect as well.

As a media company, the last thing Fox needs is this kind of publicity.  If Ailes is negotiating his departure, it would be a huge hit to Fox News.  The exit of O'Reilly, Hannity, and Van Susteren would destroy its powerhouse prime-time lineup, which gives the network its #1 ranking among cable news outlets.  It's significant that all three stars have backed Ailes, which could mean a mass exodus of talent from the network.

Might Murdoch circle the wagons and look to ride the storm out?  Given the consequences of Ailes's exit, it's a distinct possibility.  But regardless of he stays or goes, Ailes's reputation has taken a blow from which it will be difficult to recover.