CNN co-anchor Alisyn Camerota said she was sexually harassed by Roger Ailes, the former Fox News CEO who resigned last year amidst similar allegations from other women.
Camerota, who worked at Fox News for over a decade, said when she first started at the cable news network, she went to Ailes’ office and told him she wanted more opportunity. She said he responded by telling her they would need to work together “really closely,” which would require them going to a hotel. “Do you know what I’m saying?” Camerota said Ailes asked her. Camerota said she wondered if declining his advances would jeopardize her career. “Will I be fired if I don’t do this?” she recalled thinking at the time.
Ailes resigned last July amidst accusations of sexual harassment from several women. Two of the networks former female anchors, Megyn Kelly and Gretchen Carlson, also said he made unwanted sexual advances towards them.
Roger Ailes’ attorney Susan Estrich denied Camerota’s allegations calling them “unsubstantiated and false.”
“Mr. Ailes never engaged in the inappropriate conversations she now says occurred, and he vigorously denies this fictional account of her interaction with him and of Fox News editorial policy,” the statement said.
Camerota’s disclosure comes after the ouster of former Fox News anchor Bill O’Reilly, who was axed by the network last week. He faced intense scrutiny and an advertising boycott after a New York Times report revealed he had paid five women a collective $13 million for agreeing not to file lawsuits or speak publicly about harassment allegations. Camerota said on CNN’s New Day earlier this week that O’Reilly had never harassed her.
She also revealed that Ailes would emotionally harass her when he didn’t feel she was espousing his world view on air, and told her she could be a “role model” if she would be more conservative. “He targeted me because he sort of figured out early on that I didn’t share his world view,” Camerota said Sunday.
Camerota left Fox News three years ago, noting that her decision to leave was partially a result of her uncomfortable interactions with Ailes.
She decided to finally go public with her story because O’Reilly’s dismissal showed her that Fox News executives do seem to want a change to the culture. “It felt like there was a tipping point this week,” she said. “It feels as though they [the Murdochs’] really want to know what the culture was like and I don’t know how you get that with silence.”
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