Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly—who ranks among the channel’s most valuable and visible on-air talent, and has maintained close ties with network CEO Roger Ailes—has apparently told lawyers hired by 21st Century Fox that Ailes made sexual advances toward her several years ago, according to reporting by Gabriel Sherman of New York magazine:
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 towards her about ten years ago when she was a young correspondent at Fox. Kelly, according to the sources, has described her harassment by Ailes in detail.
This revelation comes on the heels of Fox News host Gretchen Carlson’s sexual harassment lawsuit against Ailes. It’s unclear what exactly Ailes’ alleged harassment of Kelly involved, but as Sherman notes, Kelly’s disclosure of her boss’s advances goes a long way to explaining two key mysteries surrounding Carlson’s litigation: The mealy-mouthed statements coming out of 21st Century Fox, and Kelly’s heretofore total lack of involvement in Fox’s response to the lawsuit.
The anchor’s discussions with 21st Century Fox’s third-party firm—Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP—appear to have cemented Ailes’s fate, too. “According to two sources,” Sherman writes, “yesterday afternoon lawyers for 21st Century Fox gave Ailes a deadline of August 1st to resign or face being fired for cause.”
If both Fox and Ailes hold their ground, the latter’s seemingly inevitable ouster would likely mark the end of the current Fox News Channel, whose long-established identity—casual sexism included—has long been inseparable from Ailes. At the same time, few people have been more rewarded by Fox’s culture, and Ailes’ mentoring, than Megyn Kelly herself. As she told Variety earlier this year, “I’ve had a great 12 years here, and I really like working for Roger Ailes.” In that sense, perhaps the rumors of Kelly’s own departure, on her own terms, might be coming true sooner than anyone thought.