Fox’s Van Susteren: I didn’t defend Ailes
NEW YORK -- Fox News Channel's Greta Van Susteren is clarifying remarks she made about ousted boss Roger Ailes, saying she didn't intend to defend or condemn him when she gave interviews after former colleague Gretchen Carlson filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against him.
In a statement posted on her website and subsequent email interview on Thursday, Van Susteren said she had not personally seen Ailes harass anyone or heard of any harassment involving other women at Fox. The lawyer and host of a 7 p.m. weeknight show works out of Washington, while Fox's main office is in New York.
She was among a number of Fox employees, including Sean Hannity, Maria Bartiromo, Neil Cavuto and Kimberly Guilfoyle, who spoke favorably of their boss publicly in the immediate aftermath of Carlson's lawsuit, in which the former Fox anchor charged that her career had been sabotaged because she didn't have sex with Ailes. Only Van Susteren has clarified her remarks.
"I did not defend Roger Ailes nor did I condemn him," Van Susteren wrote on her website. "I just stated what I knew or did not know. Period."
Ailes has denied the allegations, but quit last week after other women told investigators working for Fox's corporate parent that they too had been sexually harassed.
While supportive of Ailes, the Fox employees' interviews may have backfired. Reporters started noticing that Fox's most prominent female anchor, Megyn Kelly, was not among those speaking out. It was subsequently revealed that Kelly told investigators Ailes had harassed her 10 years ago when she was a reporter at Fox.
A People magazine article based on its Van Susteren interview characterized her in its headline as defending Ailes. In the article, she said the Carlson case "doesn't have any ring of truth to me." She said in the article she thought she would have heard about it if things were going on.
Van Susteren said her first reaction upon hearing of the case was that Carlson was a disgruntled former employee. She said she had an off-hours conversation with Carlson when they were both on assignment in London once and Carlson had complained that she was unhappy at Fox.
"If I had known of any sexual harassment, I would not keep quiet as I would not want other people hurt by my silence," Van Susteren said. "You all know me -- I speak up. I do not know if that is what happened but other people at Fox now say they knew about it. I did not."
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