Wednesday, July 20, 2016 at 6:18 AM

Women Complain Fox News Head, Roger Ailes, Has Dick for Brains

Posted by Anthony L. Hall

Screen Shot 2016-07-19 at 9.07.27 PM

As a chorus of prominent Fox News women have gone public defending Roger Ailes against the wave of sexual-harassment allegations sparked by former Fox News host Gretchen Carlson’s lawsuit, the network’s biggest star, Megyn Kelly, has been conspicuously silent…

According to two sources briefed on parent company 21st Century Fox’s outside probe of the Fox News executive, led by New York–based law firm Paul, Weiss, Kelly has told investigators that Ailes made unwanted sexual advances toward her about ten years ago when she was a young correspondent at Fox…

Kelly’s comments to investigators might explain why the Murdochs are moving so quickly to oust Ailes.

(New York Magazine, July 19, 2016)

Close friends will tell you that I have often decried the way all “prominent Fox News women” seem to abide a dress code that requires them to bare as much leg and wear as much makeup as possible.

Screen Shot 2016-07-19 at 9.00.57 PMWatching them, as I do on occasion for “fair and balanced” news reporting, I always get the sense that they look more like beauty pageant contestants than cable news reporters. What’s more, camera shots invariably reinforce the impression that tits and butts are every bit as important as brains and skills.

Frankly, their objectification is such that Fox News women are often barely distinguishable from the vaudevillian “Benny Hill foxes.” This might explain why Ailes treated them, eponymously enough, like his Fox News foxes.

Far more troubling, though, is the rumor that he hired women based solely on whether or not he found them “f**kable.” After all, these allegations not only give credence to that rumor, but also make it impossible to watch Fox News women henceforth without wondering what sexual favors they performed to get, and are performing to keep, their jobs. What little professional credibility they had has now been shot.

That said, I appreciate that the name Roger Ailes might mean nothing to you. Therefore, the way Brian Stelter, senior media reporter for CNN, framed his power and influence might help:

Ailes created Fox news: Ailes is Fox; Fox is Ailes…

[Fox News] is the public square for Republicans.

(CNN, July 19, 2016)

Of course, Cosby used to be NBC entertainment: Cosby was NBC; NBC was Cosby.

More to the point, the parallels in this unfolding scandal to the one that triggered Bill Cosby’s fall from grace are as unavoidable as they are instructive. Therefore, having commented so much on the predatory Cosby, I see no point in commenting too much on the predatory Ailes.

Instead, I shall suffice to highlight the following points:

  • It is regrettable that it took Gretchen Carlson becoming a “disgruntled employee” to spark this legal probe. She filed her sexual harassment lawsuit mere days after Ailes fired her a few weeks ago.
  • Screen Shot 2016-07-19 at 9.12.56 PMIt is troubling that it took Carlson’s lawsuit for Megyn Kelly, arguably the most powerful woman in all cable news, to break her silence about the sexual harassment Ailes perpetrated against her.
  • If Ailes sexually harassed Kelly, it defies logic to think that he did not do the same to many other women at Fox News, including some in the chorus now singing his praises. Sure enough, others are coming out of the woodwork to testify about the career-saving/advancing indignities they suffered.
  • Like Cosby, Ailes denies everything. But, trust me, the Murdochs would not be moving to oust him, and he would not be negotiating his own downfall, if he had a leg to stand on.
  • This lawsuit raises all kinds of questions about the nature and duration of the sexual harassment Ailes perpetrated. But my prurient interest does not extend to exploring or elaborating.

No doubt women across the professional landscape can relate all too well to these Fox News women when it comes to sexual harassment. Sadly, there is no guarantee that complaining in other cases will result in the kind of probe Carlson triggered. Which I suspect is why so many women handle or cope with sexual harassment in their own way.

A noteworthy case in point is that no less a person than feminist icon Anita Hill did just that; that is, until the private distress she suffered became public fodder during the nomination hearing for Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court. And look how that turned out.

Meanwhile, Fox is reportedly trying to help Ailes save face with a $40-million golden parachute … as he falls from grace. Except that, after settling this and other lawsuits that are bound to follow, all he’ll be able to do with that golden parachute is cover legal fees and money damages. And that would serve him right.

Related commentaries:
Bill Cosby

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