MURDOCH USHERS AILES TOWARDS THE FOX NEWS EXIT AMID HARASSMENT SUIT

La Presse Business (Tunisia) - - SOMMAIRE - By Mat­thew Gar­ra­han Agro­po­li

Ro­ger Ailes is hea­ding for the exit at Fox News Chan­nel, the in­fluen­tial cable net­work be­lo­ved by Ame­ri­can conser­va­tives, with Ru­pert Murdoch and his sons in agree­ment that he should leave amid al­le­ga­tions of sexual harassment. The ti­ming of the de­par­ture of the man who tur­ned Fox News in­to a me­dia and po­li­ti­cal po­we­rhouse is un­clear. Ru­pert Murdoch, exe­cu­tive chair­man of 21st Cen­tu­ry Fox, the chan­nel’s parent, and his ol­der son, and co­chair, La­chlan would pre­fer to wait un­til af­ter this week’s Re­pu­bli­can conven­tion, two people brie­fed on the mat­ter told the Financial Times. James Murdoch, Mr Murdoch’s youn­ger son - and the 21st Cen­tu­ry Fox chief exe­cu­tive - is pu­shing for Mr Ailes to go as soon as pos­sible, they said. But the li­ke­ly de­par­ture of Mr Ailes could present a pro­blem for the Mur­dochs. Three of Fox News’ big­gest stars - Bill O’Reilly, Sean Han­ni­ty and Gre­ta Van Sus­te­ren - have clauses in their contracts that would al­low them to de­part if Mr Ailes were to leave, the people brie­fed on the dis­pute said. Mr Ailes has told as­so­ciates he is fu­rious at his treat­ment by the Mur­dochs. 21st Cen­tu­ry Fox ope­ned an in­ter­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion on Ju­ly 6 af­ter for­mer an­chor Gret­chen Carl­son fi­led a law­suit al­le­ging he fi­red her for re­fu­sing to have a sexual re­la­tion­ship with him. Mr Ailes has de­nied Ms Carl­son’s claims and pu­shed to move the case in­to confi­den­tial ar­bi­tra­tion. The com­pa­ny said this week that the in­ves­ti­ga­tion was “not yet re­sol­ved”. New York ma­ga­zine re­por­ted yes­ter­day that Me­gyn Kel­ly, ar­gua­bly Fox News’ big­gest star, told the in­ves­ti­ga­tion that Mr Ailes had sexual­ly ha­ras­sed her a de­cade ago. 21st Cen­tu­ry Fox de­cli­ned to com­ment.

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