The future of Fox News founder and chief executive Roger Ailes could be hanging in the balance over sexual harassment allegations made by former anchor Gretchen Carlson.
An internal review of the accusations is still underway at Fox News parent 21st Century Fox, which has led to speculation that Rupert Murdoch and his sons, James and Lachlan, the company's executive co-chairmen, are moving towards jettisoning Ailes from the highly profitable division he has led for 20 years ago.
A report in New York magazine said Monday that the Murdochs will soon force Ailes to depart, which prompted a statement from 21st Century Fox that said: "This matter is not yet resolved and the review is not concluded."
In a suit filed July 6 in a New Jersey Superior Court, Carlson alleged that Ailes sabotaged her career because she rebuffed his sexual advances and complained about a hostile work environment at the cable channel where she worked for 11 years. Ailes has denied the allegations. He has also denied accusations of inappropriate behavior made by other women who have come forward after contacting the lawyers representing Carlson.
Carlson left Fox News after her contract expired on June 23. Fox News spokespersons have said she was released because her ratings were not strong enough to remain at the cable news network. Carlson's attorneys have dismissed that claim.
While the two sides battled over where the case should be heard — with Ailes' lawyers arguing that a clause in Carlson's contract required the matter to be handled in arbitration — 21st Century Fox brought in the law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison to conduct an internal review of the charges.
The plan at 21st Century Fox was to have the review — which included interviews of other Fox News employees — concluded before the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.
Ailes, 76, has been with Fox News since its launch in 1996. Under his leadership, it became the country's most-watched cable news channel and one of the most profitable divisions of 21st Century Fox.