In a move that’s pretty unprecedented for Fox News, the network issued Gretchen Carlson an apology on Tuesday—as well as a $20 million settlement for her sexual harassment suit.
“21st Century Fox is pleased to announce that it has settled Gretchen Carlson’s lawsuit,” the company said in a statement (via CNBC). “During her tenure at Fox News, Gretchen exhibited the highest standards of journalism and professionalism. She developed a loyal audience and was a daily source of information for many Americans. We are proud that she was part of the Fox News team. We sincerely regret and apologize for the fact that Gretchen was not treated with the respect and dignity that she and all of our colleagues deserve.”
Carlson responded in kind:
“I am gratified that 21st Century Fox took decisive action after I filed my Complaint. I’m ready to move on to the next chapter of my life in which I will redouble my efforts to empower women in the workplace. I want to thank all the brave women who came forward to tell their own stories and the many people across the country who embraced and supported me in their #StandWithGretchen. All women deserve a dignified and respectful workplace in which talent, hard work and loyalty are recognized, revered and rewarded.”
As readers may recall, Gretchen Carlson filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against Fox News, alleging that Roger Ailes (the network’s founding chief executive) requested sexual favors from her, among a whole lot of other vulgar, inappropriate language that no one should be expected to tolerate in the workplace (or anywhere, unless they’re into that sort of thing).
Why did the network choose to settle instead of fighting it out in court? Well, Gretchen Carlson came armed with evidence: She reportedly secretly recorded meetings with Ailes on her phone before going forward with her lawsuit … and chances are the network (and their attorneys) didn’t want those recordings made public.
On the same day that the settlement was announced, news broke that Greta Van Susteren is leaving Fox News. No reason has been given as to why, but we have a hunch it has to do with this Facebook post from last week:
Greta Van Susteren wrote on her Facebook page on Tuesday, “Yes, I have left the Fox News Channel. On Thursday night, I made my decision and informed Fox News of my decision that I was leaving Fox News Channel per my contract. Fox has not felt like home to me for a few years and I took advantage of the clause in my contract which allows me to leave now. The clause had a time limitation, meaning I could not wait.”