Roger Ailes, the founder and chairman of the Fox News American news channel, has resigned after a number of female employees accused him of sexual harassment.
Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox, which owns Fox News, announced his resignation on Thursday.
Less than two weeks ago, former Fox News presenter Gretchen Carlson filed a lawsuit against Ailes, claiming sexual harassment.
The day Carlson’s lawsuit was filed, US media reported sexual harassment allegations from two unnamed Fox News female employees. Three days later, six women also alleged sexual harassment by Ailes.
Ailes, 76, has denied the allegations. He said he was resigning because he had become a “distraction.”
“I will not allow my presence to become a distraction from the work that must be done every day,” Ailes wrote in a letter to Murdoch.
A report published last week in the New York magazine said lawyers for 21st Century Fox gave Ailes a deadline of August 1 to resign or face termination.
Carlson claims she was fired for refusing to have sex with Ailes. “I had to stand up for myself and speak out for all women and the next generation of women in the workplace,” Carlson said.
Ailes had denied Carlson’s allegations, saying in a statement, “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.”
Ailes, who launched Fox News in 1996, has long been viewed as one of America’s most powerful conservatives.
He was a media consultant for Republican presidents Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, and George H. W. Bush, and for Rudy Giuliani’s first mayoral campaign.
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