Among the “Hot Topics” on Wednesday’s edition of The View was the lawsuit that now-former Fox News host Gretchen Carlson has brought against network head Roger Ailes. And it just so happened that a current Fox News contributor was on the panel.
Jedediah Bila, who has regularly co-hosted shows such as The Five and Outnumbered, was quick to defend her boss, saying that while “obviously no one knows what went on behind closed doors” in this case, she personally called Ailes her “favorite person in the building.”
“He's been professional with me, he’s been helpful. If I have a problem in the building and I can't get anyone to hear me, I beg to see him and I walk in and he sits down and asks, ‘How can I help you?’” Bila said that she has “never seen anything personally inappropriate at all,” adding, “If anything he's ‘daddish’ with me.”
“He could be paternal and also be guilty of being a sexual harasser,” Joy Behar said in response. When Bila pushed back on that notion, Behar added, “Not for nothing, Jed, but you’re not blonde.”
“She’s not a blonde,” Behar continued to groans from the crowd. “If this is true, he likes blonde women.”
“Well, that’s why he never came on to me,” Whoopi Goldberg joked, in an attempt to break the tension.
By the end of the segment, Behar was forced to make a correction to her assumptions about Ailes’ predilections. She noted that Elisabeth Hasselbeck, who started out as a co-host on The View before replacing Carlson on Fox & Friends, has also defended Ailes and “is a blonde.”
In a statement issued last night, Hasselbeck said, "Speaking from my personal experience, working for Roger Ailes and with Steve Doocy and Brian Kilmeade was by far the most rewarding time in my 16-year broadcasting career. Because Roger, Steve, and Brian consistently treated me with overwhelming respect, and pure-hearted kindness, for which I am forever thankful."
Meanwhile, longtime blonde-haired anchor Greta Van Susteren said in an interview with The Daily Beast that Ailes is being “falsely accused” by Carlson and that the characterization of her boss in the lawsuit “is not the Roger Ailes I’ve ever heard about or seen.”
Similarly, Bret Baier, a Fox anchor who happens to have brown hair, told The Daily Beast on Tuesday, “The Roger I know is somebody who has always been amazing to me and my family… so it’s not familiar to me.”
Yet, in the days since Carlson made her suit public, several other women have spoken out against what they viewed as systemic sexism at Fox News. Just because some Fox personalities have had cordial relationships with Ailes doesn’t mean he didn’t have an inappropriate one with Gretchen Carlson.
Earlier in the day, Carlson delivered her first public statements to the press about the suit, saying, “I just wanted to stand up for myself, first and foremost. And I wanted to stand up for other women who maybe faced similar circumstances.”
“Everyone knew how powerful Roger Ailes was,” she added. “I certainly felt intimidated by that.”