Didn’t we all figure this would happen?
And it sort of answers the question I had: did Fox indemnify Roger Ailes from having to cough up his own money to settle the sexual harassment lawsuits? Or was that huge package he got–reported at $40 mil–pocket money Ailes was going to have to dig into to pay at least some of the settlement?
Mr. Ailes resigned from Fox News on July 21, two weeks after Ms. Carlson filed her suit. Initial reports that Mr. Ailes would pay a portion of the settlement were rebutted by several people familiar with the details, including Susan Estrich, Mr. Ailes’s lawyer. “Mr. Ailes is not contributing anything,” Ms. Estrich wrote in an email.
Estrich did a lawyerly job of wording that very carefully. Who knows whether Fox’s agreement with Ailes specifically set aside some of his settlement to settle these other cases, laid out in such a way it wouldn’t technically be Ailes’ contribution?
This story turns my stomach. It harkens back to the work environment we women faced in the early 1960s, with a really nasty skew: sure, little lady, we guys who control you and your job will move you up to a higher rank and let you actually talk on TV! Oh, but you’ll have to look and dress the way we desire (emphasis on “desire”). Which is: like a high priced courtesan.
Ugh, ugh. Ugh.
And you don’t believe this next story, also in today’s Times, is utterly unrelated to the Carlson settlement, do you?
Gabriel Sherman, a reporter for the magazine, has been at the forefront in covering the former Fox News chairman’s ignominious removal.
I doubt Ailes has even a shred of a real case against New York Magazine, so this is a good time to remind everybody of, first, the definition of defamation from Black’s Law Dictionary:
defamation, n. 1. The act of harming the reputation of another by making a false statement to a third person. If the alleged defamation involves a matter of public concern, the plaintiff is constitutionally required to prove both the statement’s falsity and the defendant’s fault. 2. A false written or oral statement that damages another’s reputation.
And, second, I repeat the invaluable adage from one of the best lawyers I know: “Anybody can sue anybody for anything,” with the footnote, “But anybody can spend an awful lot of money and get his case dismissed, too.”
So why would Ailes threaten the suit? To punish New York Magazine and Gabriel Sherman by costing them money to defend the lawsuit, at least up to the point of a summary dismissal.
I’ll keep an eye out for this one. But I fancy New York Mag will answer Ailes’ lawyer’s letter forcefully and this whole thing will peter out. If that’s not too horrendous a pun. (If it is, I’m not apologizing.)