If you have ever watched Gretchen Carlson and co-hosts on Fox and Friends, a flagship morning show, you will have witnessed a woman who played the part of what the news network believes was first and foremost about the attractiveness and sex appeal of its on-air female talent. She played the role of the archetypal blonde female on a couch sitting between two men struggling to understand the modern world. Ms. Carlson’s act was not very convincing. It is important to note that she was valedictorian of her high school class. She graduated with honors from Stanford University and studied at Oxford University. She also worked for CBS News as a correspondent before joining Fox in 2005.
Ms. Carlson recently filed a sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit against Fox News CEO and Chairman Roger Ailes. The suit is claiming that, “Ailes has unlawfully retaliated against Carlson and sabotaged her career because she refused his sexual advances and complained about severe and pervasive sexual harassment.” Ms. Carlson has charged that Mr. Ailes ogled her in his office by asking her to turn around to view her backside; called her “sexy” and frequently made sexually charged comments about her physical appearance; and demanded sex. When Ms. Carlson met with Ailes last fall to discuss her concerns about the ill treatment, Mr. Ailes told 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.” When Ms. Carlson refused Ailes’ advances, he retaliated against her by reducing her salary, curtailing her on air appearances and, ultimately, declining to renew her contract last month.
From April to June of this year, Ms. Carlson’s most recent show, “The Real Story with Gretchen Carlson”, was consistently winning its time slot, averaging 1.1 million viewers. It was the 24th-highest rated cable news show in the closely tracked demographic of viewers 25 to 54 years old.