6 more women and counting pile sex claims on Roger Ailes
WASHINGTON – It appears Fox News chief Roger Ailes has a problem reaching Bill proportions – meaning Bill Clinton or Bill Cosby.
Following the filing of a lawsuit by former Fox News host Gretchen Carlson about a series of unwanted sexual propositions from her boss, her attorney says other women are coming out of the woodwork with similar stories dating back to the 1960s.
Attorney Nancy Erika Smith says more than a dozen women have contacted her with detailed allegations of sexual harassment by Ailes over a 25-year period dating back to when he was the producer for “The Mike Douglas Show.”
“These are women who have never told these stories until now,” Smith told the New York Magazine’s Gabriel Sherman, who authored a 2014 biography of Ailes that included interviews with four other women who related similar stories. “Some are in lot of pain.”
Six of the women agreed to speak with New York Magazine publicly for the first time – two on the record.
“I didn’t tell my husband, it was so mortifying,” said Marsha Callahan, a former model who says Ailes harassed her in the late ’60s, shortly before he became Richard Nixon’s media adviser.
Ailes attorneys filed a motion Friday in federal court seeking to move Carlson’s suit to arbitration. Her attorneys countered with this statement: “Roger Ailes is trying to force this case into a secret arbitration proceeding. … Gretchen never agreed to arbitrate anything with Mr. Ailes.”
About the new allegations, Ailes released the following public statement: “It has become obvious that Ms. Carlson and her lawyer are desperately attempting to litigate this in the press because they have no legal case to argue. The latest allegations, all 30 to 50 years old, are false.”
The new accounts from New York Mag include the following:
Kellie Boyle, 54, former Republican National Committee field adviser: “This was back in 1989. I was 29 and living in New Jersey. My husband worked at CNBC and he said, ‘Roger Ailes is coming in to be interviewed, would you like to meet him?’ I said yes! I’d worked in political communications for the Republican National Committee; so Roger Ailes was like a God. I’d read his book, ‘You Are the Message,’ and I used it for a lot of training I did for candidates. I introduced myself in the green room and he was very charming and said, ‘Would you like to visit my office downtown sometime?’ A week or two later I went in and mentioned to him I was going down to D.C. the following week to sign a major contract with the National Republican Congressional Committee. He said, ‘I’m going to be in D.C. too. Would you like to have dinner before you go in?’ So we had a nice dinner at a restaurant in Union Station. There was nothing untoward about it at all. He had a driver and a car, and after dinner he said, ‘Can I take you to your friend’s?’ So we get in the car and that’s when he said, ‘You know if you want to play with the big boys, you have to lay with the big boys.’ I was so taken aback. I said, ‘Gosh I didn’t know that. How would that work?’ I was trying to kill time because I didn’t know if he was going to attack me. I was just talking until I could get out of the car. He said, ‘That’s the way it works,’ and he started naming other women he’s had. He said that’s how all these men in media and politics work – everyone’s got their friend. I said, ‘Would I have to be friends with anybody else?’ And he said, ‘Well you might have to give a blowjob every once in a while.’ I told him I was going to have to think about this. He said, ‘No, if you don’t do it now, you know that means you won’t.’ The next morning I show up to get my assignment and was told the guy I was supposed to be meeting with was unavailable. Back in New Jersey I got a call from Roger Ailes. He said, ‘How’d your meeting go?’ I said, ‘Actually he wasn’t available and I’m hoping to hear back from him.’ He said, ‘Ah, well, I’m sure you will. Have you changed your mind yet?’ I said, ‘I’ll have to pass, Roger. I’m married and really committed to my husband. No offense.’ He said, ‘Well, we’ll be in touch.’ And that was that. A couple weeks later, I called a friend who was very high up in the RNC and I asked him what happened. He said, ‘Word went out you weren’t to be hired.’
Marsha Callahan, 73, former model: “This was either ’68 or ’67. At the time he was producing ‘The Mike Douglas Show,’ and I had a call from my modeling agency about the show. I got a call directly from Roger asking me to come down and to make sure I wore a garter belt and stockings. This was right after pantyhose came into use, and I said, ‘Why would you want me to do that instead of pantyhose?’ He said, ‘If your legs look good in a garter belt, I’ll know you have great legs.’ So I go into his office and right away he says, ‘Sit on the sofa and lift your skirt up.’ I had to do these different poses. And then, I recall very clearly, he said he’d put me on the show but I needed to go to bed with him. I was a really shy girl, but I was a little cheeky so I said, ‘Oh yeah, you and who else?’ And he said, ‘Only me and a few of my select friends.’ I said, ‘Well, if you think I have star quality and you can make money off my looks, I don’t think it’d matter if I went to bed with you or not.’ And he said, ‘Oh, pretty girls like you are a dime a dozen.’ The interview ended quickly. I was called in to do the show and I remember passing Roger in the hallway. He pretended not to know who I was.”
Susan (pseudonym), 66, former model: “I was 16 years old living in Radnor, Pennsylvania. I was sent over for a walk-on part on ‘The Mike Douglas Show’ in the winter of 1967. It was 6:30 in the evening and the place was totally closing up. Ailes took me into this big office and locked the door with a key. He reclined on a couch in a seating area under a map that had flags of all the cities they were syndicated in. He proceeded to pull down his pants and very gingerly pull out his genitals and said, ‘Kiss them.’ And they were red like raw hamburger. He was pretty meticulously dressed, with long white shirttails coming out. It was like he was just at the end of a long day and I was supposed to know what to do. I was a kid, I’d never seen a man’s privates before. I jumped up, but the door is locked and nobody’s out there. He chased me around the office and at some point it dawned on him that this just wasn’t going to happen. He finally pulled up his trousers. He was very angry and rushed over to his desk, pulled open a door and had a reel-to-reel tape recorder going. He said to me, ‘Don’t tell anybody about this. I’ve got it all on tape.’ I think he knew I was 16.”
Jane (pseudonym), 62, former model/actress: “It was around 1984; I was about 30. I had just arrived in New York. My agent was hoping to get me into broadcasting. I had an appointment with Ailes. He had a camera set up and a little desk and a script for me. It was a cooking kind of thing, talking about food and what not. After he taped me, he locked the door and said he didn’t want any interruptions. I figured out pretty quickly there was no job and this was just ruse. He pulled out a garter belt and stockings and told me to put them on. I was very nervous; I didn’t know what to do. He was standing there and I put them on. He wanted me to model them for him. After that, something sexual took place, but I blocked it out of my mind. I don’t know if I engaged with him orally or he engaged with himself. I felt I was being used for his sexual satisfaction. I felt very threatened. He wanted me to take the lingerie home for the next time. I said, ‘No thank you, I don’t want to keep it for the next time.’ I left and I knew I’d never return. Through the years I felt like a horrible person because I allowed this to happen to me and I didn’t just say f— off and walk out of the room. My husband doesn’t even know.”
Diane (pseudonym), 69, media consultant: “This is something I’ve carried with me and haven’t told anybody. I was just appalled to read about Gretchen’s story and see how he’s behaving after 50 years. This was so long ago. I was in college doing some modeling work with an agency in the Philadelphia area. This would have been late ’65 or early ’66; I would have been 18 or 19 years old. A bunch of us girls at the agency were called over to audition for him for some sort of skit on ‘The Mike Douglas Show.’ He had a room and one by one he would take us behind closed doors. When my turn came I went in and he didn’t waste any time. He grabbed me and had his hands on me and he forced me to kiss him. When I recoiled he said, ‘Well, you know no girls get a job here unless they’re cooperative.’ I just pushed him away and ran out of there. He was like, whatever. So, no job for me. He did hire several of the girls from the group, but I don’t know what they had to do to get the job.”
Pat (pseudonym), 65, former TV producer: “It was 1975. I had a degree in mass communications. A college friend said, ‘Come to New York.’ I got an interview with Roger Ailes. I remember I met him not at some big TV office; it was at his apartment on Central Park South. I don’t remember his exact words, but his message was: If you want to make it in New York City in the TV business, you’re going to have to f— me, and you’re going to do that with anyone I tell you to. I was afraid he was going to pin me down. He was a big guy and I’m not big at all. He could have overpowered me. I remember running out of that apartment like my hair was on fire and standing on the sidewalk crying, thinking, What’s that guy think I was, a prostitute? In one second my dreams were shot. He’s going to blackball me everywhere, I’ll never get another interview, I’m not good enough – all that stuff a 20-something girl thinks. It wasn’t, that guy’s a son of a b—- and I should have kicked him in the balls.”
Meanwhile, LawNewz.com has obtained what it says is an internal Fox News memo that may add support to Ailes’ defense in the Carlson case.
In her suit, Carlson claims that during a September 2015 meeting in Ailes’ office, he stated 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.”
She claims that following the meeting, in retaliation for her opposition to his advances, he denied her opportunities including “severely curtailing her appearances as a guest commentator on prime time shows” and “blocking her from appearing as a substitute host on prime time or daytime panel shows.” However, a memo, reportedly provided by Fox News, says that days after the Sept. 16, 2015 meeting, Ailes apparently told Bill Shine, the head of programming, to give it “another chance.” Ailes even suggested that he would be open to putting Carlson back on her time slot with primetime host Bill O’Reilly.
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