Fox News’ parent company has settled a sexual harassment lawsuit that former host Gretchen Carlson brought against ousted Chairman Roger Ailes, a deal that signals a desire from the network to move beyond the bad press but could embolden others to bring claims.
In a Tuesday statement, 21st Century Fox announced the settlement and took the unusual step of issuing a public apology to Carlson, who had alleged that Ailes sabotaged her career after she rebuffed his unwelcomed sexual advances.
The deal, which is reportedly worth $20 million, brings a swift end to a lawsuit that has kicked up a swarm of media coverage since it was filed in July. Several attorneys said it would not be surprising that Fox might want to end the case without a drawn-out trial.
“I think the intense media coverage probably made it easier for Fox to rationalize settling a case that it wasn’t actually sued in,” said Thomas Doherty of McCarter & English LLP.