Fox News chief Ailes resigns after sexual harassment claims

Fri Jul 22, 2016 2:30pm EDT
 
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By Jessica Toonkel and Lisa Richwine

NEW YORK/LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Roger Ailes on Thursday resigned as chairman and chief executive of Fox News Channel following allegations of sexual harassment, an abrupt end to his 20-year rein over America's most lucrative and powerful cable news channel for conservatives.

Rupert Murdoch, 85, the executive chairman of Twenty-First Century Fox Inc, the parent of Fox News, will assume the role of CEO Fox News and Fox Business Network on an interim basis, the company said on Thursday.

Ailes, who will serve as an informal adviser to Rupert Murdoch and no longer have an official role at the company, will receive a severance package of about $40 million, according to a source familiar with the situation, who asked to remain anonymous.

In his resignation letter to Murdoch, Ailes did not indicate he had done anything wrong.

"I take particular pride in the role that I have played advancing the careers of the many women I have promoted to executive and on-air positions," Ailes wrote in the letter, which his lawyer Susan Estrich provided to Reuters.

However, he added: "I will not allow my presence to become a distraction from the work that must be done every day to ensure that Fox News and Fox Business continue to lead our industry."

The resignation marks a swift downfall for Ailes, the 76-year-old media executive who advised several U.S. Republican presidents, including George H.W. Bush, and turned Fox News into the most-watched U.S. cable news channel.

His departure comes on the final and biggest night of the Republican National Convention, where Donald Trump will formally accept the Republican presidential nomination.   Continued...

 
Roger Ailes, chairman and CEO of Fox News and Fox Television Stations, answers questions during a panel discussion at the Television Critics Association summer press tour in Pasadena, California July 24, 2006. Picture taken July 24, 2006.    REUTERS/Fred Prouser/File Photo