21st Century Fox has moved to sever ties with Roger Ailes amid allegations that the Fox News Channel chairman sexually harassed female employees, according to multiple reports.
A Variety story posted late Tuesday afternoon said Ailes is “officially out.” The report was attributed to a “source familiar with the situation” and followed an online report in New York magazine Monday that said 21st Century Fox had decided to remove Ailes from his post.
However, as of late Tuesday afternoon, a statement from 21st Century Fox said, “Roger is at work. The review is ongoing. And the only agreement that is in place is his existing employment agreement.”
Ailes is facing a sexual harassment lawsuit by former “Fox & Friends” co-host Gretchen Carlson, who left the network in June. A Manhattan law firm is conducting an internal investigation into that charge.
Meanwhile, New York magazine also reported Tuesday that Ailes had harassed Megyn Kelly, the channel’s highest profile female star, a decade ago.
According to that report, Kelly told the counsel hired by 21st Century Fox to investigate Carlson’s accusations that she too had been harassed by Ailes when she was a reporter first starting out at Fox.
The Drudge Report — which has close ties to Fox — said Ailes was “working on” a $40 million settlement as part of an exit agreement. But that appeared to be contradicted by another Drudge “bulletin” claiming the Ailes’ ouster reports were at most premature.
A network spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment.
Ailes, 76, the former media consultant for three presidents — Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush — was the founding chief executive of Fox News Channel, which he launched in 1996 and which subsequently overtook CNN as cable’s most watched news channel.