Economy

Negotiations reportedly ongoing for exit amid lawsuit claiming he sexually harassed star host

Roger Ailes, the politically connected chief of Fox News, is negotiating his exit from the media group amid a lawsuit alleging he sexually harassed a star host, reports said Tuesday.

Ailes, a longtime ally of founder Rupert Murdoch who is chairman and chief executive at Fox News, is discussing terms of his departure, according to the Wall Street Journal, owned by a separate business unit controlled by Murdoch.

The Journal and the New York Times both quoted sources close to the situation on the exit talks as speculation swirled on Ailes's future.

The Daily Beast reported that Fox had initially confirmed Ailes had negotiated a deal to leave, but "subsequently walked back that confirmation."

The online Drudge Report posted a tweet about an exit package worth $40 million for Ailes, but moments later deleted the tweet.

Fox News declined to comment on the reports.

"Roger is at work. The review is ongoing. The only agreement that is in place is his existing employment agreement," said parent company 21st Century Fox.

Earlier this month, the cable news giant said it had launched an internal review of allegations in a lawsuit by Fox News host and former Miss America Gretchen Carlson, who claimed she was fired for rejecting Ailes's sexual advances.

Fox stated at the time it had "full confidence" in Ailes but added that it was reviewing the matter.

"We take these matters seriously," Fox said in the July 6 statement.

New York Magazine reported Monday that Rupert Murdoch and his sons Lachlan and James had decided that Ailes would soon be out.

The report, citing sources close to the situation, said Ailes was given the option of resigning or being fired this week.

Ailes, a former consultant to Republican presidents, is a key figure in the media empire.

Murdoch's sons have been taking a larger role in operations since the 85-year-old tycoon announced he was gradually easing control of his corporate empire, which includes 21st Century Fox and the global publishing group News Corp.

(AFP)

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