Former Fox News host Gretchen Carlson settled a sexual harassment lawsuit with the network for $20 Million over a single comment she decided she didn’t like and a nebulous tone with her morning show co-host she found to be displeasing to her. The lawsuit cost the networks founder and Chief Executive Officer Roger Ailes, the accused party by Carlsons lawsuit, to have to resign from his position and the company.
Gretchen Carlson seems like a nice Christian woman so it is my hope that there is more to this story that for some reason her and her lawyers decided to keep secret from their public filings because otherwise she is a horrible human being that almost surely is going to hell. Whatever anyone thinks of Fox News or of Roger Ailes and regardless of whether he is a nice guy or a jerk (I have no idea so I have no non-profession-related opinion on him), his deposition from the network he built over Carlsons stated accusation is a reprehensible mortal sin and extreme miscarriage of social justice.
When I first heard of the lawsuit I erroneously assumed that Carlson was alleging something that actually happened… Nope… The lawsuit makes no claim of Carlson being touched, sexually propositioned, or harassed in any way whatsoever. This made it odd that she received $20 Million in a settlement of a “sexual harassment” lawsuit when no harassment, sexual or otherwise, was even alleged. Instead, the allegation in the lawsuit that falsely masquerade as being of “sexual harassment” (bringing shame to her and her lawyers for cheapening the serious charge and term) is just one big conspiracy theory based on one alleged inappropriate comment her boss Roger Ailes allegedly made, one alleged time, 9 months before her contract wasn’t renewed at Fox…
The single comment in question was Ailes allegedly saying to 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.” That’s it. and that ain’t harassment. That comment might be rude, it’s almost surely not wise, and it might even be wildly inappropriate – but it ain’t “harassment”, it isn’t a demand or threat, and it for damn sure isn’t worth $2 let alone $20 million. To think otherwise, you have to believe that that sentence is so damaging to ones ears and psychological stability that they would pay 20 million dollars in order to not have it said towards them. Since no one anywhere, ever would ever think that – Carlsons pay day becomes not a vindication of an abused woman who wouldn’t take crap from a lecherous corporate jerk abusing his power but rather a scam that ruined someones livelihood for the personal gain and obscene enrichment of an individual who wasn’t harmed and suffered no damages to justify such a payout. Don’t Christians believe that to be a sin?…
Of course, Carlson didn’t bring the lawsuit over that one sentence alone – she claimed the lawsuit was justified because her contract with Fox News Channel was not renewed this past June and she says that lack of renewal was because of Aile’s comment and the implications she drew from it (evidently only 9 months later and not at the time) that she was fired. She doesn’t specify exactly what implication she drew from the alleged comment but presumably she interpreted “we should have had a sexual relationship years ago” to mean “if you don’t have sex with me, I will fire you in 9 months if your ratings do poorly”. Or maybe “even if your ratings AREN’T a huge disappointment to the network”?. Idk. But a good way to avoid the gray area in this situation would have been for Ailes to have not made the comment and for Carlson to have been a better on-air Talent because then the contract renewal wouldn’t have poor ratings or a verbalized sentiment that “we should have boned back in the day” as the culprit.
Unfortunately for Carlsons eternal soul, the evidence supports the Roger Ailes side and depicts her to be a vindictive greedy lying liar. Ailes claims that she was let go because her “disappointingly low ratings were dragging down the afternoon lineup” and that the lawsuit was just petty retaliation for FNC not taking on her drag. Carlson claims that her ratings were great and the real reason she was fired was in retaliation for rebuffing her boss’ sexual advances.
Okay then… lets examine those claims…
Carlsons lawsuit claims that she was fired from FNC despite her show doing well in the ratings in contrast to Ailes saying that her ratings were “disappointing”. The reality? Her ratings were in fact disappointing. Her show, The Real Story, didn’t completely flop by every standard – just by the standards of the network she was employed by – i.e. – her shows performance disappointing. My personal take on it was that it was one of the weakest most dull pieces of programming that Fox News had to offer, but my opinion doesn’t matter – the collective’s does. Well, SURPRISE – the collective agreed with me: Gretchen Carlsons show trailed nearly all of Fox News Channels other programming. Carlson tried to spin this as a good thing because the time slot improved over last year, but so did all of cable news because it is an election year. Also don’t forget the part where regardless of the time slot improving along with the rest of the network and the rest of all cable news – her show remained one of the least watched shows on the whole network… Fox is held to a higher standard with its #1 position in the cable wars and it shouldn’t be a surprise when the weakest link is excised from the chain. Further, Carlson didn’t just lose to her above-average performers at her own network, but she actually lost to the competition. “CNN Newsroom with Brooke Baldwin” beat “The Real Story” by 2% in the eminently important 25 to 54-year-old demographic in June (the month Carlson was not renewed).
As stated above, Gretchen Carlson filed her lawsuit over losing a show that was one of the worst rated on her network and lost to the competition in the key financial demo due to a conspiracy theory and unspecified tone of not being appreciated (she claims, because she is a woman). Her entire case against Ailes was the “we should have had a sexual relationship years ago” line that she found so wildly distasteful and offensive that she… continued working for him, thanked him in her book for all he’s done for her, and wrote him hand written notes with smiley faces thanking him for his support and asking to be put on the air in prime time more – which Ailes granted her, presumably without any sexual requirements.
Gretchen Carlson further alleges that her co-host Steve Doocy wasn’t nice to her, or something. In what sounds like an entitled 7th graders attempt to get a teacher to reprimand a boy she doesn’t think is giving her the attention she deserves, Carlson alleges her Fox & Friends co-host Steve Doocy of “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.” Notice there is no actual allegation – just nebulous whining with no example to support the claim whatsoever. Not even a single quote of Steve Doocy ever saying anything that would even hint at anything resembling the sentiment she alleges (“blonde female prop” are her and her lawyers words, not anything Doocy is alleged to have ever said. Sounds like a personal self-worth issue to me). Just a completely irresponsible unsupported smear.
If Carlson really thought that Roger Ailes was demanding that she have sex with him to keep her job, why did she stay at that job? If Carlson thought that her cohost Steve Doocy didn’t respect her then why didn’t she ever bring it up with him? and if she thought that she was being treated in a sexist fashion towards Doocy off-air, why did she think it was okay to treat him in a sexist fashion ON-air, including the time she made small-penis and erectile dysfunction jokes about him in a segment on Fox & Friends in where she surprise gifted him “Turkish Viagra”?
CONCLUSION (HOW SHE GOT AWAY WITH IT)
Given the evidence, and lack thereof of anything being alleged, you might be asking “how the hell did this phony get away with a $20 million settlement and why did Roger Ailes have to leave his position at the network in seeming disgrace?”…
Because of the bad press and damage to the company. I’ll once again note the possibility that an internal investigation found something improper that Carlson didn’t even allege in her legal filings and by pure coincidence Ailes got caught Al Capone style in this mess and deserved the outsting – but from the available public evidence, it merely looks like Gretchen Carlson complained publicly and loudly (and legally) about things entirely un-complaint-worthy (as evidenced by her own action at the time and afterward) and put the company in a situation where they had to either suffer millions of dollars worth of bad publicity in an election year when everything else is otherwise going great only to spend tens of millions in a legal battle that some idiot judge might actually award against them anyway – OR – usher Ailes out and pay off Carlson $20million for no reason other than she blackmailed the company for it. Remember: she alleges no harassment, no physical contact, no improper solicitation, and no evidence to support unjustified non-renewal of her crappy show on the network. Her accusations amount entirely to (paraphrasing) “Roger Ailes [whom I had a great relationship with, was friendly with, wrote hand written smiley notes to, and publicly thanked for giving me great opportunities] said a crass remark one time and then 9 months later when my show lost to the competing one on CNN in the ratings and did so poorly that it drug down the rest of the shows around me, my contract wasn’t renewed. Also, another on-air talent, Steve Doocey, didn’t appear to respect me very much. Give me $20 million dollars because I’m a victim now”.
People, me included, typically think that if a settlement like that takes place and the person in question resigned from their position, they must have been wildly guilty – and i’m shamed to even add the caveat (unsupported by any current evidence available) that that may be exactly the case for all I know – because “where there’s smoke, there’s fire”.
Know where there’s also allegedly a lot of fire? In hell, where vindictive liars who make tens of millions of dollars off of fabricating grievances to assassinate peoples characters and end their careers in revenge for their own professional failures.