Gretchen Carlson is reportedly close to settling her sexual harassment claim against Roger Ailes. But while I sympathize with what she apparently went through and understand why she would prefer settlement to a trial, she could have a much bigger impact if she thrust more details about the culture at Fox into the open.
Margaret Sullivan, media columnist for The Washington Post, recently explained how a trial would prevent the issue from fading away without any serious impact on the culture at Fox News, as now seems be happening:
A trial, on the other hand, would keep this important subject alive and in the public eye. While it would take many months, maybe even years, to get to court, it would eventually bring all of the ugliness out into the light of day.
Silence and secrecy have been at the root of the problem all along.
In her post-lawsuit interview with The New York Times, Carlson said she filed suit partly out of a desire to help other women:
“I just wanted to stand up for myself, first and foremost,” she said. “And I wanted to stand up for other women who maybe faced similar circumstances.”
According to Sullivan, Carlson stands to bring home an “eight-figure check” with her settlement. Who wouldn’t find that tempting, especially as an alternative to what would surely be a nasty trial?
But here’s the thing: Carlson is already very, very wealthy. Her husband, Casey Close, is an extremely successful sports agent. In 2015, alone, he earned $31.4 million in commissions. Carlson reportedly earned $1.5 million while she was at Fox. Surely she’ll be able to continue living the kind of life most people just dream about even if she never gets a dime from the lawsuit.
If Fox is willing to pay Carlson eight figures to get her to go away, isn’t that all the more reason the rest of us need her to stick around?
Watch a mashup video from Carlson’s time as cohost of Fox & Friends, via Bloomberg Politics, and you’ll get a clue as to why she sued.
If you really mean that, Gretchen, then don’t let Ailes et al try to make this all go away by buying your silence. Let this matter play out in the public court and stand as an example of why no one should have to endure sexual harassment in the work place, school, etc. So many other victims of sexual harassment do not have the resources that you do to bring such a case – put your money where your mouth is and keep it in the public legal system.
Gretchen is a human being first, woman second. It would seem she does not want to be used by women’s groups. Makes sense to me.
Ailes has a non-compete clause in his exit arrangement, but they’re confident they can get around that and grind Fux into the ground. Ah, an internecine war between the crazy haters – ’tis a consummation devoutly to be wished.
But it’s too bad when it comes down to the denizens of Faux choosing on the scales between cash and morality, morality carries the weight of a feather.