Former Fox anchor Gretchen Carlson is suing Fox News chairman and CEO Roger Ailes (opens in new tab) for sexual harassment, saying Ailes allegedly fired her after she rebuffed his sexual advances. Now, days after her lawyer Nancy Erika Smith's candid interview with Marie Claire (opens in new tab), she's speaking out (opens in new tab) for the first time.
"I just wanted to stand up for myself, first and foremost," Carlson tells The New York Times. "And I wanted to stand up for other women who maybe faced similar circumstances."
Carlson says that she and Ailes met "between six to 10" times to discuss her claims of harassment, and he spent that time, well, harassing 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," Ailes allegedly (opens in new tab) told her.
From Gretchen Carlson's suit against Roger Ailes: pic.twitter.com/42GscBE2TPJuly 6, 2016
Carlson reportedly asked Ailes for more work at Fox in a series of handwritten notes, which has some questioning the legitimacy of her claims. But when asked why she was seeking work while being harassed, Carlson explained: "I think it's hard when you've been a victim—you keep thinking things are going to get better."
Carlson's integrity has been called into question by former colleagues (who she notes are "still being paid by Fox"), but at the end of the day, she isn't filing this lawsuit for vindication—or even money. She's filing "to stand up for what happened to me and what was the truth."
Mehera Bonner is a celebrity and entertainment news writer who enjoys Bravo and Antiques Roadshow with equal enthusiasm. She was previously entertainment editor at Marie Claire and has covered pop culture for over a decade.
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