Rupert Murdoch’s former white-haired man, Roger Ailes, is lawyering up, as they say in the US. Media reports this morning say he has hired a third lawyer to defend himself and go after his chief tormentor and unauthorised biographer, Gabe Sherman on New York magazine (who has a major report on the fall of Ailes at Fox News in the new issue). Part of that story reveals that more than 24 women have now come forward to an internal inquiry into Ailes’ time at Fox News with stories about being sexually harassed by him.
Ailes has hired Charles Harder, the Hollywood libel lawyer who recently represented former pro wrestler Hulk Hogan and is fronting would-be first lady Melania Trump (who is suing the Daily Mail of London and its website for US$150 million) to take on New York magazine after the publication ran stories about his tenure at the helm of Fox News, culminating in the latest and longest story so far.
Harder who won US$140 million in damages for Hogan against Gawker (and forced it it to declare bankruptcy and close), has written to New York magazine to take issue with articles about the former Fox News chief by Sherman. The 37-year-old Sherman has broken several Ailes stories in recent weeks — notably the damaging scoop that Fox News star Megyn Kelly had told an internal Fox review that she had been an Ailes victim. The review was looking at the claims by former Fox host Gretchen Carlson that Ailes had sexually harassed her. The Kelly report sank Ailes’ future at Fox and he was pushed out by the Murdochs with a US$40 million payout.
Now, Ailes has gone on the offensive with the latest revelations from Sherman in New York magazine published overnight. Sherman’s opening par in that story is a doozy:
“More than two dozen women have come forward to accuse Ailes of sexual harassment, and what they have exposed is both a culture of misogyny and one of corruption and surveillance, smear campaigns and hush money, with implications reaching far wider than one disturbed man at the top.”
And it only gets worse for Ailes and Fox from there. Read it here. — Glenn Dyer