Roger Ailes, the former head of Fox News died Thursday at the age of 77. No cause of death was given but Ailes was a hemophiliac and had other health issues. Ailes worked for the presidential campaigns of Richard Nixon in 1968, Ronald Reagan in 1984, and George H.W. Bush in 1988. Ailes also informally advised the campaign of President Donald Trump in 2016. Ailes headed Fox News from its start in 1996 and used the network as a bastion for conservative media and figures. By 2002, Fox News had become the number one most-watched cable news network.
By the time Ailes left Fox News in 2016, daily viewership had risen to approximately two million. Prior to his time at Fox News, and after his political work, Ailes worked on CNBC business news network and America’s Talking a second NBC cable channel. Disagreements over programming control led to Ailes leaving the networks in 1995. Ailes then convinced Rupert Murdoch to help start Fox News as both allegedly believed the mainstream media was too liberal.
Ailes left Fox News in 2016 following multiple accusations of sexual harassment by female employees at Fox News. Gretchen Carlson was the first to blow the whistle on Ailes’ alleged improper activities and other popular newscasters including former Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly later came forward. Fox News allegedly paid large sums of money to settle with Ailes’ accusers including $20 million to Carlson. Ailes’ departure from the network did not end the troubles with sexual harassment accusations, as host Bill O’Reilly faced accusations of his own and was allegedly forced out from Fox News in April. Overall, Fox News allegedly paid more than $45 million to settle harassment claims against both Ailes and O’Reilly.
Ailes will be remembered for his influence in conservative politics and his role in shaping Fox News in the most popular news network in the United States. Ailes will also be remembered for his final year at Fox News where the cloud of the multiple sexual harassment allegations presented a stark contrast to his success as a political operative and leader of a successful cable news network.
* * *If you would like more information or would like to speak to a member of Constantine Cannon’s whistleblower lawyer team, please click here.