Many Fox News employees have rallied around their boss, chairman and chief executive Roger Ailes, who faces a sexual harassment and retaliation suit from former anchor Gretchen Carlson.
But there has been one notable exception among them — the cable news channel's most popular female anchor, Megyn Kelly.
Various anchors have sung their praises for Ailes, defending him in interviews with journalists and talk-show hosts without commenting directly about Carlson.
"It's a very sad situation, No. 1, and I am just going to say this about it — I've worked with Roger for the past 20 years," Fox News host Bill O'Reilly said Wednesday on "Late Night with Seth Meyers." "Best boss I've ever had. Straight shooter. Always honest with me. And I believe that over the years — he's been in the business 50 years — 95% of people that have worked for Roger Ailes would say exactly the same thing I just told you."
Other big names at Fox News have also described Ailes as a supportive boss, adding they have not witnessed behavior described in Carlson's suit filed in a New Jersey Superior Court on July 6.
"People are so loyal to Roger because he's loyal to them," said Maria Bartiromo, who was hired by Ailes to report from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange for CNBC when he ran that network. "He has his people's backs."
With a chorus of supporters that includes O'Reilly, Bartiromo, Sean Hannity, Greta Van Susteren, Bret Baier, Kimberly Guilfoyle and Jeanine Pirro, Kelly's absence has become conspicuous as the charges leveled against Ailes are the talk of the TV industry.
A Fox News spokesperson declined to comment as to why Kelly has not chosen to speak publicly in support of her boss after there was no response to a request for a statement from the anchor.
Kelly was effusive about Ailes back in May when she was promoting a prime-time special for the Fox broadcast network. "I love working for Roger Ailes," she told the Los Angeles Times. "He's taken great care of me in the last 12 years. You need someone looking out for you if you want to thrive in any business, but particularly in broadcast news. It helps to have somebody blocking for you. He always has."
According to one former Fox News executive who was not authorized to speak on the matter publicly, it's possible that Kelly wants to avoid becoming involved in any internal controversy before her contract comes up in mid-2017. Kelly, who is represented by Creative Artists Agency, is expected to generate interest from other networks when she becomes available.
Ailes has denied Carlson's account of his alleged treatment of her. Her suit said 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. He has also denied charges of inappropriate behavior from 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 noted that Carlson was released because her ratings were not strong enough to remain at the cable news network. Carlson's attorneys have dismissed that claim.
It was Kelly who previously held the anchor chair in Carlson's afternoon time slot. Kelly was promoted to a prime-time hour in late 2013.