Former Fox News host Gretchen Carlson said that the sexual harassment she experienced at the hands of CEO Roger Ailes was “continuous” in an interview with the New York Times.
The former Fox & Friends co-host said that there were “between six and 10” meetings in which she discussed harassment with him and he “talked about her body.”
“Everyone knew how powerful Roger Ailes was,” she said. “I certainly felt intimidated by that. The culture of Fox and Friends was intimidating to me.”
Carlson filed suit against Ailes last week saying that, he told her at one point, “I think you and I should have had a sexual relationship a long time ago.”
Fox spokesperson Irena Briganti told the Times that Carlson “never filed a formal complaint about sexual harassment to the H.R. department or to the legal department,” an allegation that was rejected by Carlson’s lawyer, Nancy Erika Smith.
“We are not going to try the case here,” said Smith, who was present during Carlson’s interview with the Times. “Yes, she made a complaint, and to whom and in what format, that’s something that will come out at trial.”
While Carlson’s legal team has said that more than 10 other women have contacted them since the suit was filed, former colleagues like Harris Faulkner and Martha MacCallum have come to Ailes’ defense.
“They’re still being paid by Fox,” said Carlson. She also addressed speculation that she tried to convey her frustration during her on-air career.
“A lot has been said that I’ve been sending signals and signs on occasion,” she said. “That’s true. I was sending a signal about how I felt.”
Ailes, who has filed a motion calling for the case to be settled by an arbitrator, has said that it was Carlson’s low ratings for her solo show — and not her refusal to have an affair with him — that spurred her firing.
But Carlson said ratings were not brought up at all when she was informed that her contract would not be renewed.
“It was cold and calculating,” she recalled. “It took 30 seconds, there was no ‘Thank you for your service of 11 years,’ and there was absolutely no discussion of ratings.”
[h/t Media Matters]