21st Century Fox today announced that Roger Ailes, Chairman and CEO of Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network, and Chairman of Fox Television Stations, has resigned from his role effective immediately.But he's not severing all ties to Fox:
Ailes will become an adviser to Murdoch, who at 85 becomes chairman and acting CEO for Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network.NPR's David Folkenflik adds:
FWIW Am told Ailes *not* considered consultant to 21stC Fox or Fox News but will "make himself available" to advise Rupert during transition— David Folkenflik (@davidfolkenflik) July 21, 2016
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter a couple of days ago, Susan Estrich, Ailes's lawyer (who, by the way, has written publicly about being a rape survivor), suggested that negotiating for some sort of continuing role was important to Ailes:
... what does he want from an exit agreement?Brooks was the editor of Murdoch's News of the World when it was learned that reporters for the tabloid regularly engaged in phone hacking and other offenses. She was forced to step down, but then she was cleared of all charges in 2014 -- and Murdoch brought her back in 2015, appointing her CEO of News UK.
Well, who knows? And as you know, exit agreements can take all kinds of different forms, including agreements that provide for continuing roles. So there’s a lot of negotiations going on.
Meaning he would stay on in some kind of consultancy?
Or something like that. I don’t know. I honestly don’t know what’s going to happen here, but somebody was telling me that’s how things worked out in the London situation.
Are you referring to the hacking probe?
Yeah, yeah. A reporter told me that. I didn’t even know the way the Murdochs handled [that]. [Rebekah Brooks] couldn’t keep her position, but they kept her on as a consultant or whatever it is.
Ailes is in his seventies and in poor health. But this is his life's work. Do you think he seriously believes he might be able to get out from under the sexual harassment allegations in the not-too-distant future? If he somehow managed to do it, is it possible Murdoch (who seems determined to retain control of his empire for life) would bring him back?
The rehiring of Brooks "was described as 'unthinkable' and 'unfathomable' by company insiders," according to The Guardian, but it happened. Would Murdoch appall us again? Or is that impossible, but Ailes holds out hope nevertheless?
Let's root for Gretchen Carlson. I really want her case to stick.