Chalk this one up in the column marked, “It really didn’t need to happen.” The lawsuit that exacted a transformative fissure at FOX News is now a settled issue, with former FOX News chief Rogers Ailes no longer with the company and Gretchen Carlson wealthier in several respects.
FOX News will pay Carlson $20 million and offer a public apology to her in return for her dropping the lawsuit. Ailes, as announced by the network’s parent company on Tuesday, won’t be penalized financially at all.
The events leading to this settlement, now – for all intents and purposes – exposed as true, bring to an end an episode that simply didn’t need to happen. It tainted one of the biggest revolutions in news media history and compromised a well-oiled ratings winning machine.
In her released statement, which you can see in full above, Carlson was gracious in her victory, exhibiting the dignity of station she always brought to her broadcasts.
Several FOX News personalities came forward in light of the lawsuit to support Carlson in her claims of sexual harassment at Ailes’s hand. The move pitted a midday cable news personality against one of the giants in the news business and someone who had serious insider connections at the highest levels of government.
21st Century FOX was quick to keep up its end of the bargain, issuing a carefully worded apology statement:
“21st Century FOX is pleased to announce that we have settled Gretchen Carlson’s lawsuit. During her tenure at FOX News, Gretchen exhibited the highest standards of journalism and professionalism. She developed a loyal audience and was a daily source of information for many Americans. We are proud that she was part of the FOX News team. We sincerely regret and apologize for the fact that Gretchen was not treated with the respect and dignity that she and all of our colleagues deserve. We know Gretchen will be successful in whatever endeavors she chooses in the future.”
In exchange for the elements of the settlement offered by 21st Century FOX, Carlson agreed to drop the lawsuit against Ailes and promised not to bring up any new lawsuits against the company or any of its employees. Reuters has confirmed the details of the settlement.
In the wake of Ailes’s departure, multiple FOX News personality contracts went into flux via a clause in contracts that made it possible to renegotiate said contracts should Roger Ailes leave the network. One of those personalities was prime time anchor Greta van Susteren.
It was announced abruptly that Van Susteren had left the network as of Tuesday. Her hour-long show On the Record will be temporarily hosted by Brit Hume for the duration of the general election cycle. Negotiations deadlocked regarding her contract and van Susteren opted out of her contract.
In a statement about her departure, van Susteren said, “FOX has not felt like home to me for a few years, and I took advantage of the clause in my contract which allows me to leave now.”
Like I said, this just didn’t have to happen. It’s sad that it did. Let’s all hope the network can recover. To be sure, FOX’s competition is dancing on the ashes in celebration.
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