Alisyn Camerota, the former Fox & Friends Weekend co-host and current co-anchor of CNN’s New Day, revealed on CNN today that she had been sexually harassed and emotionally bullied by former Fox CEO Roger Ailes. (Watch a clip below).
A spokesperson for Ailes denied the charges.
In an interview on CNN’s Reliable Sources with Brian Stelter, Camerota said that while Ailes could be “charming” and “funny,” he was also “a bit of a bully,” “mean” and “grossly inappropriate with things he would say.”
Most damaging, Camerota recalled her first run-in with Ailes shortly after joining the network. Alone in Ailes office, Camerota said her boss told her, “I would have to work with you really closely and it may require us getting to know each other better, and that might have to happen away from here, and it might have to happen at a hotel – do you know what I’m saying?”
Said Camerota to Stelter, “I knew in my head at that moment, I’m never going to that hotel under any circumstances.” She also recalled thinking, “Is this the end of my time here? Will I be fired if I don’t do this?”
Camerota said she was not fired, but that Ailes subsequently “targeted” and bullied her, often for failing to conform to his conservative ideology. “It was very unpleasant at times to be alone in Roger’s office when he would boom and bellow about how I was getting it wrong.” She said toward the end of her tenure at Fox, she refused to go to Ailes’ office alone.
Asked by Stelter whether she thinks things have changed at Fox since the departure of Ailes and host Bill O’Reilly, Camerota expressed optimism. “I trust that the culture has changed, with Roger gone.”
Camerota left Fox in March of 2014 and joined CNN several months later. She told Stelter she’s speaking out now because the recent changes at Fox signal a “turning point.”
“Let’s just air it out,” she said. “There’s been a lot of suffering in silence.”
Following the interview, Stelter read a statement from Susan Estrich, counsel for Ailes: “These are unsubstantiated and false allegations. Mr. Ailes never engaged in the inappropriate conversations she now claims occurred, and he vigorously denies this fictional account of her interactions with him and of Fox News editorial policy.”
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