The Slatest

Report: Roger Ailes Out as Head of Fox News

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Fox News Chairman and CEO Roger Ailes at the 2006 Summer Television Critics Association Press Tour.

Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

Roger Ailes, the besieged chairman and CEO of Fox News currently battling a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by former Fox & Friends host Gretchen Carlson, may soon be out of a job.

Two sources familiar with an investigation into Ailes’ behavior launched by New York law firm Paul, Weiss revealed to New York magazine’s Gabriel Sherman on Monday that Lachlan and James Murdoch—co-chairmen and CEO, respectively, of Fox News’ parent company 21st Century Fox and sons of former CEO Rupert Murdoch—have decided to give Ailes an ultimatum: Throw in the towel or be forced out.

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According to Sherman:

After reviewing the initial findings of the probe, James Murdoch is said to be arguing that Ailes should be presented with a choice this week to resign or face being fired. Lachlan is more aligned with their father, who thinks that no action should be taken until after the GOP convention this week. Another source confirms that all three are in agreement that Ailes needs to go.

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News of Carlson’s lawsuit broke earlier this month. Sherman has been on top of the story since then, publishing further allegations of sexual harassment against Ailes from six more women in the wake of Carlson’s.

Sherman’s sources also say that Ailes’ dismissal is in part a response to revelations about his “controversial management style” uncovered by the legal probe, whose mandate expanded beyond Carlson’s claims of sexual harassment.

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More insanity from New York:

The interviews are now being conducted at Paul, Weiss’s midtown offices because of concerns that the Fox offices could be bugged, sources say. The lawyers are seeking to interview former female employees of Fox News in addition to current staff.

The lawsuit and probe may cast aspersions on Fox employees beyond Ailes himself. Sources told Sherman that investigators

are also looking into the appropriateness of Ailes’s pressuring employees to speak out on his behalf, against his accusers. For instance, they are focusing on an op-ed written by Fox Business anchor Neil Cavuto in which Cavuto called the allegations against Ailes “sick.” As Cavuto is a manager at Fox News (his title is senior VP and managing editor), his comments could be seen as part of a corporate attempt to silence women who would speak out.

Fox hosts told Sherman that Ailes’ allies within the conservative media juggernaut are passing information about the progress of the investigation along to Susan Estrich, a Fox contributor who also happens to be their embattled boss’s attorney.

Ailes’ compadres at Fox are “scared to death,” one Fox anchor said. “The mood is bleak.”

Ailes has not officially commented on the story yet. Politico got this from a spokesperson for 21st Century Fox: “This matter is not yet resolved and the review is not concluded.”

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