Elisabeth Hasselbeck has spoken out in support of Roger Ailes, the Fox News CEO being accused of sexual harassment by Gretchen Carlson.
In a statement released to ET, the former Survivor cast member said, “Speaking from my personal experience, working with Roger Ailes and with Steve Doocy and Brian Kilmeade was by far the most rewarding time in my 16-year broadcasting career… Because Roger, Steve, and Brian consistently treated me with overwhelming respect, and pure-hearted kindness, for which I am forever thankful.”
The 39-year-old was a co-host of the network’s popular Fox & Friends program from 2013 to 2015. Prior to that, she was a co-host of The View.
This isn’t the first time the mom of three has spoken out favourably about her old boss. In 2015, she got emotional speaking about Ailes while addressing her departure from the network.
READ MORE: Gretchen Carlson sues Fox News boss for sexual harassment after being fired
“This is a hard decision, many women in business and work make these decisions in cycle of their parenting and work lives. It’s a hard decision because I’ve had the blessing and privilege of working for the best boss in the business, the most powerful man in the business, Mr. Roger Ailes.”
Several other female Fox News anchors have come forward to defend the 76-year-old, including Sandra Smith, Greta Van Susteren, Maria Bartiromo, Jeanine Pirro and Martha MacCallum.
Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, the latter said, “I have had a great personal and professional relationship with Roger. He’s always been very open. We’ve had a lot of great one-on-one conversations.” The co-host of America’s Newsroom calls the allegations “shocking. Everybody I know at Fox was shocked.”
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On July 6, former Fox News Channel anchor Gretchen Carlson filed a lawsuit against Ailes claiming she was fired after she refused his sexual advances.
Carlson, who was with the network for 11 years, was let go on June 23 when her contract wasn’t renewed. During her time with the outlet she hosted several programs, including Fox & Friends and The Real Story with Gretchen Carlson.
The 50-year-old former Miss America alleges her firing came nine months after Ailes, her boss, told her during a meeting “you and I should have had a sexual relationship a long time ago.”
The lawsuit continues saying Ailes allegedly ogled her, repeatedly commented on her legs, urged her to wear clothes that enhanced her figure and told her she was sexy but “too much hard work.”
After complaining about his advances, the anchor claims the CEO retaliated by stripping her of her title on Fox & Friends, reducing the appearances she made on Bill O’Reilly’s primetime program (Fox’s highest-rated show), reducing her salary and scaling back the marketing support she received.
One of Ailes’s outside council members, Barry Asen, responded to the allegations saying, “It has become obvious that Ms. Carlson and her lawyer are desperately attempting to litigate this in the press because they have no legal case to argue. The latest allegations, all 30 to 50 years old, are false.”
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Since then, six other women have spoken out, saying Carlson isn’t alone.
Each of those women were interviewed by New York magazine – two on the record, four anonymously – and had similar tales that included sexual propositions and the fending off of unwanted advances from the CEO.
“I didn’t tell my husband, it was so mortifying,” said Marsha Callahan, a former model who claimed Ailes harassed her in the late ’60s.
One anonymous “media consultant” shared this tale: “He had a room, and one by one he would take us behind closed doors. When my turn came I went in, and he didn’t waste any time. He grabbed me and had his hands on me and he forced me to kiss him. When I recoiled he said, “Well, you know no girls get a job here unless they’re cooperative.” I just pushed him away and ran out of there.”
None of these allegations have been proven in court.
– With files from The Associated Press
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