Sexual harassment allegations against former Fox News chairman and CEO Roger Ailes have continued to roll in after former host Gretchen Carlson accused him of "sabotag[ing] her career because she refused his sexual advances." But one in particular—a New York Magazine interview with former Fox talent booker Laurie Luhn—is perhaps the most explicit.
Published Friday, the interview features allegations by Luhn that Ailes "psychologically tortured" and sexually harassed her for 20 years. She claims that Ailes, among other things, blackmailed her with sexual footage, asked her to recruit female subordinates who would be subject to his sexual advances, and demanded that Luhn engage in "sadomasochistic sex with another woman while [Ailes] watched."
Luhn acknowledges that the interview breached the terms of a $3.15 million settlement she reached with a Fox attorney after she left her job in late 2010.
The interview also gave Luhn a chance to reveal what life is like behind the scenes at Fox: namely, that officials told Luhn to exclusively hire "attractive and articulate" people to make the U.S. invasion of Iraq more palatable. Luhn says:
“I was very proud of the product. I was very proud of how we handled 9/11. Very proud of how we handled the run-up to the Iraq War [...] My job was to sell the war. I needed to get people on the air that were attractive and articulate and could convey the importance of this campaign. It was a drumbeat.”
In an interview with the Huffington Post earlier this month, a former Fox employee (who requested anonymity) told reporter Michelle Fields that Ailes “always brags to people about how he doesn’t do polling or testing when he chooses his on-air talent. He told me that if he was thinking of hiring a woman, he’d ask himself if he would fuck her, and if he would, then he’d hire her to be on-camera.”
Days later, Ailes's counsel, Barry Asen, released a statement to New York Magazine denying the claims:
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.