An attorney for former Fox News anchor Laurie Dhue is questioning the credibility of 21st Century Fox’s internal review of sexual harassment allegations and other workplace issues at Fox News Channel under the cable network’s founder and former chairman, Roger Ailes.
Dhue’s lawyer, Bruce Schaeffer, issued a statement Tuesday criticizing the law firm Paul, Weiss, which top 21st Century Fox execs Rupert, Lachlan and James Murdoch hired on July 6 to conduct an investigation of charges in fired Fox anchor Gretchen Carlson’s sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit against Ailes.
Carlson’s allegations, along with sensational news reports of Ailes’s alleged misconduct, resulted in the Murdochs forcing Ailes into resigning a mere 15 days after her lawsuit was filed.
Recent reports, meanwhile, have indicated that Paul, Weiss internal review of Ailes’s behavior—including star anchor Megyn Kelly’s reported statement that Ailes harassed her when she was a cub legal reporter a decade ago—and the workplace conduct of others at Fox is winding down.
“[I]n light of recent news stories revealing, among other things, that former FNC employee Laurie Luhn had to approach Paul, Weiss about her relationship with Roger Ailes (rather than Paul, Weiss approaching her) we wanted to let you know that Paul, Weiss has thusfar not contacted us as part of its investigation, which fairly questions the credibility of its investigative process,” Schaeffer said in a statement.
He was referring to an interview Luhn gave to New York magazine, in which she said she sexually serviced the 76-year-old Ailes for nearly two decades while earning an above-market salary as a guest booker and event planner, until Ailes dismissed her from the cable network in 2011 with $3.15 million in corporate hush money.
“It could be argued that the firm wrapped up its investigation prematurely, limiting the scope,” Schaeffer contended.
A spokesperson for 21st Century Fox responded: “Ten days after Paul, Weiss commenced their interviews, Roger Ailes resigned. Any suggestion that their work was less than rigorous is simply ridiculous. As we’ve made clear, we take any matter of sexual harassment very seriously. Paul, Weiss remains counsel to us and is dealing with any and all issues as they arise.”
Also in his statement, Schaeffer identified his client—who was an on-air personality at Fox from 2000 to 2008 and is at work on a non-fiction book about her experiences with Ailes among other subjects—as the “woman asked by Roger Ailes if she was wearing underwear while jumping on the trampoline with Ailes’ then 6-year-old son, Zach.”
Schaeffer added that “the incident took place at a BBQ at [Fox & Friends anchor] Steve Doocy’s house in New Jersey.”
Doocy—who Carlson claimed treated her disrespectfully on the air—was specifically name-checked in 21st Century Fox’s announcement of the Paul, Weiss review.
“The Company has seen the allegations against Mr. Ailes and Mr. Doocy,” the announcement said. “We take these matters seriously. While we have full confidence in Mr. Ailes and Mr. Doocy, who have served the company brilliantly for over two decades, we have commenced an internal review of the matter.”
Fox News contributor and former Democratic strategist Susan Estrich, a prominent member of Ailes’s legal team, didn’t respond to an email seeking comment concerning Schaeffer’s complaint.