New York Magazine reported Monday that embattled executive Roger Ailes could be exiting Fox News Channel, with the date of his departure the only variable in the media chief’s fate.
Ailes has been under fire ever since former Fox & Friends anchor Gretchen Carlson filed a suit claiming that Ailes sexually harassed her, firing her when she did not acquiesce to his advances. Since Carlson filed her suit several other former and current Fox female employees have reportedly come forward, claiming Ailes had made unwanted sexual overtures to them over the years. Ailes has vehemently denied the allegations, and other Fox on-air personnel have come to his defense, including Bill O’Reilly, Greta Van Susteren, Maria Bartiromo, Geraldo Rivera and others.
According to the magazine, 21st Century Fox CEO James Murdoch, his brother executive chairman Lachlan Murdoch and their father, executive chairman Rupert Murdoch have agreed that Ailes must go. According to the report by Gabriel Shearman, a long-time chronicler of the Murdoch family and Fox, James Murdoch is pushing for the company to give Ailes a choice of either stepping down or being fired by the end of the week. Lachlan and Rupert, according to Sherman, are holding out that any moves wait until the conclusion of the Republican National Convention this week.
The news comes as Fox’s lawyers – Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison – are continuing their investigation of the claims against Ailes.
In a statement, Fox said, “This matter is not yet resolved and the review is not concluded.”
The 76-year-old Ailes is largely credited with building Fox News Channel from scratch into a ratings powerhouse, consistently placing as the top channel in cable news for more than a decade. The network is run separately from Fox’s other programming units, and generates upwards of $1 billion in profit for 21st Century Fox each year. Just who would replace Ailes at the unit is unclear.