Roger Ailes has officially stepped down from Fox News Channel, according to a statement from 21st Century Fox, the cable-news network’s corporate parent. His resignation comes after a series of sexual-harassment allegations had been leveled against him and brings to an end an era at a TV network that has become hugely influential in political circles and the daily news cycle.
Rupert Murdoch, executive chairman of the parent company, will take over supervision of the network and its sibling, the Fox Business Network, as its chairman and interim chief executive, the company said.
Fox News’ parent, 21st Century Fox, had earlier this month started an internal review into charges made in a lawsuit filed by Gretchen Carlson, a longtime Fox News anchor who left the outlet in June. In that lawsuit, Carlson alleged Ailes had made unwanted sexual advances after she complained to him about treatment of women at the network. Ailes has denied the charges and sought to bring the suit under arbitration. During that review, similar allegations began to surface, according to a person familiar with the situation.
Murdoch’s decision to supervise the operations speaks to how highly he values Fox News and its rise on the national scene. One person familiar with the company said Murdoch sees Fox News Channel as part of his legacy, and is determined to see it thrive. The operation is also a key part of the company, which is controlled by Murdoch and his family. Fox News is said to throw off 20 percent of the company’s cash flow. according to estimates, and generates hundreds of millions of dollars every year in advertising.
“I am personally committed to ensuring that Fox News remains a distinctive, powerful voice. Our nation needs a robust Fox News to resonate from every corner of the country,” says Murdoch in a prepared statement.
The company’s announcement made no mention of allegations made against Ailes, or the status of the company’s review. Ailes has denied the sexual-harassment charges made by Carlson and others, and many prominent Fox News anchors have come to his defense in public.
Three veteran senior executives will help Murdoch run the networks: Bill Shine, senior executive vice president of programming; Jay Wallace, executive vice president of news and editorial; and Mark Kranz, the unit’s chief financial officer.