Fox News announced today it had settled a sexual harassment lawsuit with former anchor Gretchen Carlson and offered her a highly unusual public apology, viewed as an acknowledgement that inappropriate activity was taking place in the newsroom.
“We sincerely regret and apologize for the fact that Gretchen was not treated with the respect that she and all our colleagues deserve,” said Fox officials in a statement. “We are proud that she was part of the Fox News team.”
Carlson claimed former Fox News CEO Roger Ailes sexually harassed her and terminated her contract in retaliation. Ailes denied it, but not wanting a public court battle, 21st Century Fox agreed to pay Carlson a whopping $20 million. It is not clear whether Ailes will be paying any portion of it.
“I’m ready to move on to the next chapter of my life in which I will redouble my efforts to empower women in the workplace,” wrote Carlson in a statement. “I want to thank all the brave women who came forward to tell their own stories.”
The lawsuit was settled on the same day longtime Fox News personality Greta Van Susteren abruptly quit her prime-time show after 14 years.
“We are grateful for Greta’s many contributions over the years and wish her continued success,” Fox co-presidents Jack Abernethy and Bill Shine said in a statement.
Van Susteren reportedly made the decision after a contract dispute following Ailes departure.
“Fox has not felt like home to me for a few years and I took advantage of the clause in my contract which allows me to leave now,” wrote Van Susteren on her Facebook page. “The clause had a time limitation, meaning I could not wait.”
Brit Hume will take over Van Susteren’s show “On the Record” starting tonight.