Gretchen Carlson and Julie Roginsky Call on Fox News to Drop NDAs in CBS Interview: ‘We Want to Speak’
Former Fox News host Gretchen Carlson and contributor Julie Roginsky told CBS This Morning on Wednesday that their calls for Fox Corporation to drop their non-disclosure agreements are the next step in the #MeToo “revolution,” as they want the opportunity to “speak for ourselves.”
Carlson, a former Fox & Friends host who accused Fox News chairman Roger Ailes of sexual harassment, and Roginsky, who also accused Ailes of workplace misconduct, both settled their lawsuits against the network in 2016 and 2017, respectively, but their settlements came with strict NDAs.
But after NBCUniversal announced last week that former NBC News employees who believe “they cannot disclose their experience with sexual harassment as a result of a confidentiality or non-disparagement provision” can “contact NBCUniversal and we will release them from that perceived obligation,” Carlson, Roginsky, and several other former employees at Fox News, including Diana Falzone, came forward to call on their old employers to do the same.
“I think this is the latest phase in the revolution, we’ve made so much progress over the last three years,” Carlson told CBS News correspondent Jericka Duncan, while Roginsky added, “We want to speak for ourselves. We’ve had a voice for a very long time.”
“The way in which we continue to subjugate women is through NDAs and silencing them. It’s really a harasser’s best friend,” Carlson continued. “I want to do it for the thousands of women in our country who maybe don’t have the national platform to speak out.”
After Duncan raised the point that some would argue the two were not forced to “sign a settlement,” Carlson replied by saying the culture in corporate America of resolving misconduct cases in such a way “is wrong.”
Carlson claimed that she was removed from her hosting job at Fox after protesting Ailes’ sexual advances, while Roginsky said she was denied a permanent co-host position at The Five — a show she guest hosted on several occasions — for doing the same thing.
As for Carlson’s thoughts on the 2019 film Bombshell, which features actor Nicole Kidman as Carlson in a dramatized version of Fox News’ internal sexual misconduct scandals, she said it was “strange and frustrating” to see her story being told on the big screen without being able to comment or tell the filmmakers her “side of the story.”
Roginsky also told CBS News that she doesn’t know what would happen if she violated the NDA, adding, “I don’t want to find out.”
“The onus shouldn’t be on us to try to find out. The onus should be on the companies to release us,” she said. “This is not an issue only emblematic of one industry or one political persuasion, it’s emblematic of a culture and society that tells women they have to keep quiet, and that has to end.”
According to the Hollywood Reporter, some former Fox News staffers broke their NDAs to speak to the creators of Bombshell. There are no reports that Fox has sought legal action against any former staffers that have broken the NDAs.
Other former Fox employees looking to get out of their NDAs include Falzone, who settled a discrimination case with the network in 2018, and Tamara Holder, a former Fox News contributor who filed a sexual harassment suit against the company in 2017.
Fox Corporation has not publicly responded to the request to drop these NDAs, but Fox News did release a statement last week insisting that they have taken significant steps to curb their company culture of sexual harassment: “Over the past three years, we have created an entirely new reporting structure, more than tripled the size of our HR footprint, instituted mandatory in-person sexual harassment training, started quarterly company meetings and mentoring events as well as implemented a zero-tolerance policy regarding workplace misconduct for which we engage outside independent firms to handle investigations.”
While CBS News aired the segment on Fox’s NDA issues, the Eye Network has its own problems with such hush money agreements.
In 2018, a New York Post report stated that CBS News executives were “terrified” about information coming out on ex-60 Minutes host Charlie Rose — fired in 2017 after eight women accused him of misconduct and harassment — who the network allegedly protected via a series of NDAs. The Post article reported that CBS higher ups made threats toward employees about enforcing the NDAs should anyone choose to publicly step out of line.
Watch above, via CBS News.
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