Gretchen Carlson won’t shed any tears for Roger Ailes’ departure Thursday, but several male Fox News hosts apparently will.
Mere minutes after the cable news titan announced his exit from Fox News, amid Carlson’s sexual-harassment allegations, a handful of the network’s most prominent men publicly lamented the loss of their leader.
“There are people in tears, I shed mine a couple of days ago,” the esteemed Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace confessed to Politico Thursday afternoon in Cleveland. Ailes was “the best boss I’ve ever had,” Wallace reportedly added, noting that he “loved [Ailes] personally.”
Also speaking to reporters at the Republican National Convention, Special Report anchor Bret Baier said “it feels bad” to see Ailes go. He admitted he has a “key-man” clause in his contract allowing him to depart the network with the Fox mastermind.
Ailes’ downfall as the emperor of the Fox News empire came little more than two weeks after Carlson filed a lawsuit alleging he demeaned her with “severe and pervasive” sexual harassment, often making sexist comments during everyday conversation and eventually firing her because she rebuffed his alleged sexual advances. Ailes vehemently denied the charges.
The network’s parent company 21st Century Fox subsequently launched an outside investigation of Ailes’ behavior—with the help of law firm Paul, Weiss—and ultimately seems to have uncovered other complaints of sexual harassment, including, reportedly, from the network’s biggest star Megyn Kelly. Internal pressure then mounted for Ailes to exit the network, with a leaked term sheet suggesting a hefty $40 million golden parachute for the executive.
Despite the seriousness of the allegations against Ailes, cable-news stalwart Geraldo Rivera took a much more indignant tone about the exit, tweeting: “Oh the grotesque unfairness of life.”
Rivera has doggedly denied the possibility that the sexual-harassment claims against Ailes could be true. “I’ve known him 40 years. He's about as flirty as the grizzly in #TheRevenant. I stand with Roger Ailes,” he tweeted several days after the allegations emerged.
“Don't believe the crap about #RogerAiles,” Rivera wrote two days before the resignation. “Only ones talking dirt are those who hate #FoxNews & want to hurt network that's kicking their ass.”
"I'm absolutely heartbroken that all this happened,” long-time Fox commentator Brit Hume told reporters. He took to Twitter to defend Ailes’ legacy as a media genius: “The fact that Rupert Murdoch himself has taken charge at Fox News is a sign of how much the company values what Roger Ailes built.”
Former weekend host Mike Huckabee, too, professed his unending adoration for Ailes. "I love the guy, and he's been really, really good to me," he reportedly said.
None of the men said anything of the alleged workplace malfeasance that took their fearless leader down.