Gretchen Carlson

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  • Donald And Eric Trumps’ Sexual Harassment Victim-Blaming Is A Staple In Right-Wing Media

    ››› ››› JULIE ALDERMAN

    Donald and Eric Trump’s victim-blaming responses to questions about sexual harassment were condemned in the media, but they echoed right-wing media’s long history of putting the onus on the victims of sexual harassment and sexual assault. Right-wing media figures have suggested that being a sexual assault survivor is a “coveted status,” that victims should “make better decisions,” and that “women need to take some responsibility.”

  • Washington Post: Do Donald And Eric Trump Understand “The Term ‘Victim Blaming’”?

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    A Washington Post reporter is suggesting that based on the answers provided by both Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and his son, Eric, to the hypothetical of someone sexually harassing Ivanka Trump like Roger Ailes has allegedly done to many women in the workplace, it’s possible neither man understands what ‘victim blaming’ means.

    During an interview in a USA Today opinion piece, Trump said that his daughter “would find another career” or “another company” if treated the way Roger Ailes, the ally he has expressed “love” and support for, has allegedly treated many women at Fox News, allegations that led to his departure as chairman and CEO. Eric Trump doubled down on this attitude during an interview with CBS’ Charlie Rose, stating his sister, “as a strong person,” would never “allow herself to be subjected to that.” Both statements have drawn condemnation from figures in the media, including former Fox host Gretchen Carlson, who sued Roger Ailes for sexual harassment.

    In an August 2 blog post, Post reporter Janell Ross points out that the privilege Ivanka Trump has of being able to change career or work place isn’t shared by most women, underscores how this solution would “leave the harasser in place,” and calls the idea that strength is all that’s needed to respond to sexual harassment “plain wrong”:

    On Monday, USA Today published a column in which the elder Trump was quoted saying that were his daughter Ivanka Trump to face workplace sexual harassment akin to what former employees have said that former Fox News chief and on-again, off-again Trump ally Roger Ailes subjected them to, Ivanka would find another career or company. Just like that.

    Just to be totally clear, this is what the elder Trump said:

    “I would like to think she would find another career, or find another company if that was the case."

    Those are his words. USA Today columnist Kirsten Powers described that response as retrograde and, "startling even by Trumpian standards." By Tuesday morning, Eric Trump did what so many of his father's supporters and surrogates have been called upon to do this week. Trump offered an explanation for Trump's comments. During an interview with Charlie Rose on "CBS This Morning," Eric Trump, said this:

    “I think what he’s saying is, Ivanka is a strong, powerful woman, she wouldn’t allow herself to be objected to it, and by the way, you should take it up with Human Resources, and I think she would as a strong person, at the same time, I don’t think she would allow herself to be subjected to that. I think that’s a point he was making, and I think he did so well.”

    [...]

    Now, on to the content of the two Trump men's comments, and some things that don't seem to have crossed their minds.

    Here's one: Ivanka's status as the daughter of two billionaires, the head of her own companies, manager of many lucrative projects and the wife of a very wealthy man also born to a wealthy family — all of which might make her response to harassment different than it might be if none of those titles applied.

    [...]

    What's more, their "solution" would likely leave a harasser in place.

    It would force a worker, who may feel that the job or some project or aspect of their job is what they are uniquely called to do, to accept the "punishment" of leaving that task or opportunity. That harassed worker would have to endure all the personal and economic upheaval associated with leaving that job.

    Meanwhile, the harasser and anyone aware of the harassment would emerge with a strong sense this behavior will not be a problem in the future.

    [...]

    As for Eric Trump's suggestion that a "strong" woman like his sister, Ivanka, would not "allow" this sort of thing happen or should simply go to HR, there are more than a few reasons to be troubled. Among them: there's little reason believe that the world and its HR departments uniformly work that well for all American workers.

    [...]

    The Trump definition of strength on terms that may not be an option for a large share of workers — say, for instance, that 40 percent of American mothers who are the primary or sole breadwinner in their families — is definitely something. Let's start with plain wrong. It's an idea that can have very real implications for the careers of victims, the companies for which they work and the entire country.

  • NY Times: After Ailes’ Departure, An “Icy” Split Inside Fox News

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    The New York Times reported that following the departure of Fox News CEO Roger Ailes amid a sexual harassment lawsuit, “there is a continuing split inside the network” between “one camp of old-guard Fox News loyalists” who are defending Ailes -- and are “resentful” toward those “cooperating with lawyers” -- and “another contingent” who are “dismayed” by Ailes’ defenders.  

    Earlier this month, former Fox host Gretchen Carlson filed a lawsuit that alleged Roger Ailes fired her from the network after she declined his sexual advances. Since Carlson’s lawsuit, an additional 25 women came forward to make similar claims, including Fox host Megyn Kelly. On July 19, media reported that Ailes would leave Fox News as a result of the allegations, which has created a rift within the network that Fox media analyst Howard Kurtz called “painful and embarrassing.”

    In a July 27 article, Times reporters Michael M. Grynbaum and Emily Steel, reported that “nearly a dozen Fox News employees” described an “icy” atmosphere amid the “continuing split inside the network.” The explained the split as between two camps. One of which is a “camp of old-guard Fox News loyalists” who are upset at Ailes’ “ouster” and are “resentful toward [network anchor Megyn] Kelly for cooperating with lawyers brought in by the network’s parent company, 21st Century Fox, to investigate Mr. Ailes’s behavior.” The other is “dismayed by the responses of stars like Kimberly Guilfoyle, Greta Van Susteren and Jeanine Pirro, who were quick to publicly defend Mr. Ailes after he was accused of harassment.” From the article: 

    The Fox News skybox here turns into a hive of activity as the network’s star anchors analyze the Democratic National Convention for millions of viewers.

    When the cameras blink off, however, the banter has been replaced by something rarely heard in the television news business: silence.

    Megyn Kelly and her co-hosts, including Bret Baier and Brit Hume, have not been speaking during commercial breaks, according to two people with direct knowledge of the anchors’ interactions, who described the on-set atmosphere at Fox News as icy. During ads, the hosts are often absorbed with their smartphones.

    Even as Fox News goes about broadcasting as usual, scoring its highest convention ratings in 20 years, interviews this week with network employees show an organization grappling with internal division after the abrupt exit of Roger Ailes, the once-omnipotent chairman at the center of a sexual harassment investigation.

    Nearly a dozen Fox News employees, who work in front of and behind the camera, were granted anonymity to speak candidly about highly sensitive matters inside a network where privacy is still prized.

    The hosts’ on-set interactions have improved slightly since last week’s shows at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, which were broadcast immediately after Mr. Ailes’s departure.

    Still, employees say there is a continuing split inside the network, with one camp of old-guard Fox News loyalists — some of whom owe their careers to Mr. Ailes — upset at his ouster. Some are resentful toward Ms. Kelly for cooperating with lawyers brought in by the network’s parent company, 21st Century Fox, to investigate Mr. Ailes’s behavior.

  • CNN Reports First High-Level Executive Leaves Fox News Only Days After Sexual Harassment Investigation Forced Out Roger Ailes

    Blog ››› ››› BRENDAN KARET

    CNN's Dylan Byers reports that former Fox News Executive Vice President Michael Clemente has left the network "days after Roger Ailes' departure from Fox News.”

    CNN reported that Clemente’s departure “was unrelated to the recent sexual harassment allegations surrounding Ailes,” which continues to plague the network, with new reports that sexual harassment may be widespread at Fox. Clemente’s number two, Peter Boyer, also left the network. CNN noted that Clemente "showed no signs of leaving the network prior to the scandal”:

    Michael Clemente, a longtime executive vice president of News at Fox who was effectively demoted earlier this year, has left the network, spokespeople confirmed. Peter Boyer, a former New Yorker writer who recently served as Clemente's number two, has also left.

    Clemente's departure, first reported by TVNewser, was approved by 21st Century Fox co-chairman Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch. Network insiders say the move was unrelated to the recent sexual harassment allegations surrounding Ailes, though it's also true that Clemente showed no signs of leaving the network prior to the scandal.

    Clemente's exit from Fox follows reports from New York magazine's Gabriel Sherman that Fox News executives had helped Ailes "cover up" sexual harassment allegations, as well as Good Morning America's report that there was a "culture inside Fox News" of sexual harassment.

  • Report: Sexual Harassment At Fox News Goes Way Beyond Roger Ailes

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    Following the ousting of former Fox CEO Roger Ailes amid allegations that he sexually harassed former network anchor Gretchen Carlson, The New York Times reported that a culture of sexual harassment and intimidation in Fox News may extend beyond Ailes. According to the Times, interviews with current and former Fox News employees revealed “instances of harassment and intimidation that went beyond Mr. Ailes and suggested a broader problem in the workplace.”

    On July 21, Fox News’ parent company announced that Ailes would be resigning his position at Fox News but would receive $60 million and continue to work “as a consultant” with 21st Century Fox. Ailes’ ousting from the company follows a sexual harassment lawsuit filed against him by former Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson. According to The Washington Post, 25 women have come forward to make similar harassment claims against Ailes.

    The New York Times reported on July 23 that Fox News may have “a broader problem in the workplace,” that extends beyond Ailes after at least “a dozen women” told the Times that “they had experienced some form of sexual harassment or intimidation at Fox News or the Fox Business Network, and half a dozen more who said they had witnessed it. Two of them cited Mr. Ailes and the rest cited other supervisors.” From the Times’ report:

    The investigation by Fox News’s parent company, 21st Century Fox, focused narrowly on Mr. Ailes. But in interviews with The New York Times, current and former employees described instances of harassment and intimidation that went beyond Mr. Ailes and suggested a broader problem in the workplace.

    The Times spoke with about a dozen women who said they had experienced some form of sexual harassment or intimidation at Fox News or the Fox Business Network, and half a dozen more who said they had witnessed it. Two of them cited Mr. Ailes and the rest cited other supervisors. With the exception of Ms. Bakhtiar, they all spoke on the condition of anonymity, citing embarrassment and fear of retribution. Most continue to work in television and worry that speaking out could damage their careers.

    They told of strikingly similar experiences at Fox News. Several said that inappropriate comments about a woman’s appearance and sex life were frequent. Managers tried to set up their employees on dates with superiors.

    [...]

    The women interviewed by The Times described similarly troubling experiences at Fox News and the Fox Business Network, a sprawling operation with about 2,000 employees on several floors of News Corporation’s headquarters on Sixth Avenue in Manhattan.

    The networks were run with an iron fist by Mr. Ailes, the founding chairman and a former Republican strategist, who established the channels as a lucrative profit center and an influential voice in conservative politics.

    [...]

    It is difficult to know exactly how much Mr. Ailes set the tone. The investigation into his conduct revealed findings troubling enough to compel 21st Century Fox executives to move quickly and arrange his exit. Beyond inappropriate language, Mr. Ailes was also accused by employees of kissing and intimate physical contact, according to three people briefed on the investigation, and of making propositions that included quid pro quo arrangements.

    [...]

    Female staff members told of problems with other supervisors as well. One current employee said that she was with a male supervisor in a closed-door, one-on-one meeting in 2009 when she asked to work on an assignment. He turned to her and said, “Sure,” then conditioned it on oral sex. The woman said she laughed it off, thinking that she would face retaliation and be demoted if she told him that the comment was inappropriate.

  • Washington Post Reports 25 Women Have Come Forward To Accuse Former Fox CEO Ailes Of Harassment  

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    Following a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by former Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson against former Fox News chairman and CEO Roger Ailes, 25 women have come forward to make claims of similar harassment against Ailes, according to a July 22 report from The Washington Post.

    On July 21, Fox News’ parent company announced that Ailes would be resigning his position at Fox News but would receive $60 million in a “consultant” position with 21st Century Fox.  

    The Washington Post highlighted the “locker room” mentality at Fox News, alongside new allegations in a July 22 article which reports there are now 25 women accusing Ailes of misconduct and harassment, dating back decades:

    News of Carlson’s firing, and the lawsuit she filed shortly thereafter, have now prompted 25 women to come forward with what they describe as similar harassment claims against Ailes that stretch across five decades back to his days in the 1960s as a young television producer, according to Carlson’s attorney, Nancy Erika Smith.

    Interviews with four of those women portray the 76-year-old television powerhouse as a man who could be routinely crude and inappropriate, ogling young women, commenting about their breasts and legs, and fostering a macho, insensitive culture. Among those who agreed to interviews is a 2002 Fox intern who spoke for the first time about her accusation that Ailes grabbed her buttocks and repeatedly propositioned her.

    […]

    The signals sent by Ailes were quickly picked up by the employees, the former staffer said. Some women began showing up to news meetings in short skirts and blouses that showed their cleavage.

    “It became common knowledge that women did not want to be alone with him,” the former staffer said. “They would bring other men with them when they had to meet him. It became a locker room, towel-snapping environment. He would say things like, ‘She’s really got the goods’ and ‘look at the t--s on that one.’ ”

    Sometimes, the former staffer said, Ailes made “jokes that he liked having women on their knees. The tone he set went through the organization.”

     

  • The Guardian: Firing Ailes “Can’t Turn Around The Mess Of Misogyny That Is Fox News”

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    The Guardian highlighted the long and widespread sexism and misogyny of Fox News following the reported firing of Fox News CEO Roger Ailes, amid charges of sexual harassment made by former Fox News host Gretchen Carlson.

    On July 19 it was reported that Ailes was given until August 1 to resign or be fired. This ultimatum came as a result of a lawsuit filed by Carlson alleging sexual harassment against Ailes. Following the announcement of the lawsuit numerous other women have come forward with allegations of harassment by Ailes, including current Fox host Megyn Kelly.

    The Guardian’s Jessica Valenti highlighted Fox News’ history of sexist policy, including the no-pants policy for women and the repeated misogynistic rhetoric. And while removing Ailes is a step forward, Valenti explained that “removing one lascivious man can’t turn around the mess of misogyny that is Fox News.” From The Guardian:

    But removing one lascivious man can’t turn around the mess of misogyny that is Fox News. This is a network that bans its female on-air talent from wearing pants, where a host characterized a military operation against Isis led by a woman as “boobs on the ground” and the ethos of the coverage is shockingly antagonistic to women’s rights.

    There was the time, for example, that Fox contributor Erik Erickson said that men should be “dominant” over women in families. Or when an all-male panel bemoaned the rise of female breadwinners in the United States. Or when a host wondered if there was something about the female brain that was a “deterrent” to being a business executive. Or, my personal favorite, when Andrea Tantaros suggested that a female high school teacher who sexually abused a student did so because of … feminism.

    Oh, and these are just incidents from one year at the network.

    I have no doubt that the leadership of a man who may have told a woman “you might have to give a blowjob every once in a while” for him to help with her career would impact the tone of coverage on women at Fox News. But the disparagement of women at Fox, whether its employees or its viewers, isn’t just about Ailes. So long as the network is a mouthpiece for the right, it will continue to reflect outdated notions about women’s roles.