Roger Ailes has only been forced out from Fox News, the game-changing cable news network he founded in 1996, for a few days, but don't worry—future President of the United States of Trump has his back—and a job for him!
During Meet the Press, Donald Trump implied that the sexual harassment allegations against Ailes had to be made up. "I can tell you that some of the women that are complaining, I know how much he’s helped them," Trump said.
The GOP nominee was actually asked if Ailes, who famously became Richard Nixon's media adviser back in 1968, would work for his campaign. The Donald didn't comment, but coyly said "a lot of people are thinking he's going to run my campaign":
— Kyle Blaine (@kyletblaine) July 24, 2016
This is a perfect move for a campaign that only just fired campaign manager Corey Lewandowski for assaulting a female reporter after Ivanka Trump made her unhappiness known. The depths of Ailes' (allegedly!) awful behavior and the culture he (allegedly!) encouraged at Fox News was examined in a NY Times article, revealing that former Rudi Bakhtiar was essentially fired—and silenced—after refusing the (alleged!) come-ons of another colleague:
Her break seemed to come in early 2007, she said, when she met for coffee in the lobby of her Washington hotel with a friend and colleague, Brian Wilson. He told her he would soon become Washington bureau chief and wanted to help her get the weekend job. Then he said, “You know how I feel about you, Rudi.”
Recalling the encounter in a recent phone interview, Ms. Bakhtiar said she was thrilled and told Mr. Wilson she would make him proud. But, she said, he repeated himself, asking, “You know how I feel about you?” When she asked him what he meant, he said, “Well, I’d like to see the inside of your hotel room,” adding that he wanted a friends-with-benefits relationship.
Bakhtiar politely rebuffed him, she said, apologizing for giving him any wrong impression. After that rejection, she felt caught in a whirlwind in which network executives canceled her Washington appearances, directed her to report her allegations to human resources and, a few weeks later, let her go, with Fox News chairman Roger Ailes telling her that her tenure was ending because of her performance.
Wilson told the Times, "I take strong exception to the facts of the story as you have relayed it to me, period. Beyond that, I will have no further comment."
Bakhtiar offered NY Magazine's Gabriel Sherman more details, including her interview with Ailes...and what happened after she was hired:
Ailes himself made unwanted sexual comments during her first interview in 2005. “He said, ‘Can you stand up for a second?’” Bakhtiar recalled. “I said, ‘Excuse me?’ He said, ‘Just stand up. I want to see your legs.’ So I stood up and said, ‘Is this part of the job requirement?’ He just laughed and said, ‘No, no, no. Sit down.’”...
...When she returned from reporting in Tehran, where she covered the summit meeting between then-Iranian President Ahmadinejad and then Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Kamil al-Maliki, she began appearing on Fox & Friends and serving as a general assignment correspondent. That’s when the pressure from management to conform to Fox’s hypersexualized aesthetic began. “I would never wear skirts at work. One day they rolled in a bunch of skirts for me and said, ‘These are a gift from Roger Ailes.’ They were all miniskirts,” Bakhtiar recalled. “I said, ‘Are you forcing me to wear skirts?’ and they said, ‘No, we’re just suggesting. Roger really likes it. And you’ve got nice legs. Why aren’t you wearing skirts?’” After several weeks, Bakhtiar told Fox’s programming head, Bill Shine, that she did not want to appear on Fox & Friends anymore.
Even though others at Fox News told her to speak up and file a complaint, Bakhtiar ended up taking a settlement from Fox News and signed a non-disparagement agreement. Fox News got in touch with her lawyer, and she told the Times, "What are they going to do? Come after me for money? Garnish my wages? It’ll make a bigger story out of it. I just feel like I shut up because I didn’t want to hurt my career."
And in her interview with Sherman, Bakhtiar admitted, "I was actually being part of the problem, because I didn’t want to be the person in front taking the hit and losing my job... And in our business, unfortunately—it’s not like it didn’t happen at CNN… [But before Fox] nobody ever took the job away from me for it."
@GretchenCarlson It took me 9 years. You inspired me. Thank you Gretchen.
— Rudi Bakhtiar (@RudiBakhtiar) July 23, 2016
Fox News' parent company 21st Century Fox is currently conducting an internal investigation about the allegations from Gretchen Carlson, which led to Ailes' ousting:
Terrifying: sources say that so far > 25 Fox News women have come forward to Paul, Weiss investigators to talk about being sexual harassed
— Gabriel Sherman (@gabrielsherman) July 24, 2016
How will this all end, and where does Donald Trump fit in? Well, if these tweets are any indication...
Roger Ailes just called. He is a great guy & assures me that “Trump” will be treated fairly on @FoxNews. His word is always good!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 10, 2015
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 21, 2013