New York magazine’s Gabriel Sherman reported Tuesday that Fox News star Megyn Kelly has accused the network’s chairman of sexual harassment. The blockbuster report comes on the heels of Sherman’s Monday story, citing sources at Fox News’s parent company, indicating Roger Ailes was soon to be fired.
The decision to remove Ailes in the coming weeks was the result of misconduct discovered after a legal review of his actions in the wake of claims made by former Fox News host Gretchen Carlson.
Carlson has filed suit in New Jersey Superior Court claiming the Fox News chairman requested they sleep together for favorable treatment.
“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 toward 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.”
21st Century Fox executives have told Ailes to quit by Aug. 1 or be fired, according to the report.
Ailes has hired lawyer Susan Estrich, Michael Dukakis’ former presidential campaign manager, to head up his defense strategy.
New York also claims Ailes has turned to Donald Trump and Rudy Giuliani for advice on the widening scandal.
New York said Fox and its parent company, as well as Kelly, declined to comment for the story.
Since the Carlson suit filed in June, nine women have accused Ailes of sexual harassment during his five decades as a media and entertainment executive.
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But Rose can’t take any legal action against her harassers, who are union members displeased by her company’s use of non-union labor.
Rose lives in Pennsylvania and is an executive at Post Bros., a construction company building apartments in Philadelphia. Under normal circumstances, she could file a lawsuit against her aggressors for stalking and harassment. Unfortunately for her, there is an exemption in Pennsylvania law that protects union members from being prosecuted for stalking, harassment, or even threatening to use a weapon of mass destruction.
“We think the law works,” Pennsylvania AFL-CIO president Rick Bloomingdale said to reporters last week, explaining that the exemption is necessary to protect labor free speech rights.
Miller, however, compares the law to “a gateway drug.” “If we make certain people exempt, it will lead to other things,” he tells me. “If you allow intimidation, stalking, and harassment, . . . it will lead to the next step, to things that are truly illegal.”
In the three separate sections of the Pennsylvania Crimes Code that describe sanctions, ranging from “summary offense” to “felony of the second degree,” for the three categories of crime, an additional clause rules: “This section shall not apply to lawful conduct by a party to a labor dispute.”
Frank Snyder, secretary-treasurer of the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO, tells the Lehigh Valley Morning Call the exemptions protect free speech and claims National Labor Relations Board figures “show employers routinely, and with total disregard for the law, intimidate, harass, stalk and even fire people who try to form unions.”
Bloomingdale told the Pottsville Mercury that the three exemptions were put in place “with bipartisan support” in 1993, the year Democrats gained control of the state legislature for the first time in decades.
For Rose, the origins matter little. Because the union members never actually physically harmed her, and because the law specifically exempts union officials from prosecution for stalking and harassment, she did not have sufficient grounds for a lawsuit.
When Rose did file suit against Edward Sweeney, the long-time ironworker official who had been harassing her for months, Sweeney cited the labor exemptions and was found not guilty. Municipal Judge Charles Hayden reportedly chastised both parties for “wasting my time.”
Miller’s bill is currently in the Pennsylvania State House.
— Alec Torres is a William F. Buckley Fellow at the National Review Institute.