Roger Ailes resigned as the chairman and CEO of Fox News last week, leading observers of politics and the media to speculate what his next move would be. Now there’s an answer: He’s writing his autobiography, according to CNN.
CNN quoted an unnamed friend of Ailes as saying, “The book is a priority for him now.”
Ailes, who had led the conservative cable news network since its inception in 1996, quit his job Thursday, two weeks after former Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson sued him, alleging that he sexually harassed her.
Other women have also said that Ailes acted inappropriately. New York magazine reported that Fox News host Megyn Kelly had told investigators hired by 21st Century Fox that Ailes had subjected her to sexual advances when she first started working at the network.
It’s unknown whether Ailes’ autobiography will address the allegations, which he has consistently denied. But CNN cited an anonymous source who claimed that he won’t be able to write negatively about Fox News or the Rupert Murdoch family, who owns the network, because of a non-disparagement clause in his exit agreement.
That exit agreement is worth “north of $40 million,” according to Politco.
Ailes’ autobiography has been in the works for years. In 2011, New York magazine reported that he had landed a deal for the book worth $3 million to $4 million with HarperCollins, which is also owned by Rupert Murdoch.
Reporter Gabriel Sherman wrote then: “[I]t would be difficult for Ailes to publish an unvarnished, tell-all autobiography while still running Fox News. How would the Fox talent or Rupert Murdoch feel if Ailes put into print what he really thinks about them?”
Although he’s now best known for his years as Fox News CEO, Ailes has had a long career in journalism and politics. He was the executive producer of “The Mike Douglas Show,” a long-running talk show, in the 1960s.
He later worked as a political consultant for George H.W. Bush in 1988, when he defeated Michael Dukakis in the race for president.
Ailes isn’t the only former Fox News figure with plans to write a book this summer. According to the Daily Beast, Laurie Dhue, a former Fox News anchor, is “shopping a tell-all about her experiences with [Ailes] along with other Fox News personalities.”
Dhue was fired by Ailes in 2008. The Daily Beast claims that she had initially wanted to write her book as a novel but decided to write it as nonfiction after Carlson’s lawsuit against Ailes was announced.
Dhue’s lawyer, Bruce Schaeffer, said her book “will candidly discuss her years at Fox News and her interactions and communications with Mr. Ailes and many other Fox News personalities, her involuntary departure from Fox News and her lack of success in continuing her career in the television news industry following her departure from Fox News.”
There’s no timeline yet for either of the books. Dhue’s autobiography would be her first book; Ailes is the author of one previous book, “You Are the Message,” which was published in 1987.