Who Will Replace Roger Ailes At Fox News? The Former CEO Resigned Amidst Sexual Assault Allegations
On Thursday, Fox News’ CEO Roger Ailes resigned following a string of sexual harassment charges against him, along with other charges of mismanagement. An ongoing investigation of Ailes’ behavior has been carried out over the past month since former anchor Gretchen Carlson accused him of firing her for rejecting his advances, and while Ailes has resigned, he maintains his innocence. Since Fox announced Ailes’ resignation, many have already gotten busy looking into who will replace Ailes as Fox News’ CEO. For the time being, Rupert Murdoch, founder and executive chairman of 21st Century Fox, Fox News’ parent company, will assume the role of acting CEO of Fox News.
Immediate candidates for Ailes’ replacement include John Moody, Fox News’ executive editor and executive vice president, who has experience as a CEO of NewsCore, also run by Murdoch of 21st Century Fox. Moody in 2007 reprimanded Fox hosts for circulating a story about Barack Obama having attended a radical madrassa school as a child from a questionable source, claiming the “hosts violated one of our general rules, which is know what you are talking about.” However, Moody is hardly the voice of reason (could anyone associated with Fox News really be the voice of reason?), himself, as he helped circulate a racist, fabricated story about a black supporter of then-Senator Obama attacking a John McCain supporter in what some believed was a pointed, racially-charged attack on Obama in 2008.
Then, there’s Jay Wallace, who earlier this year was promoted to Fox News’ executive vice president of news and editorial. Forbes notes that Wallace, who currently heads all “news programming and news gathering operations,” has been with Fox since its earliest days.
Other names that have been floated include Bill Shine, who manages the channel’s opinion and prime-time programming, and Michael Clemente, who currently oversees “special projects” for the channel and reportedly boasts a close relationship with the Murdoch brothers, who own 21st Century Fox, according to Politico. However, a senior TV news executive told the magazine they predicted neither Shine nor Clemente would become CEO.
For any of these candidates, accepting the job as Ailes’ replacement could potentially be pretty damn awkward, as Politico reports all had “close relationship[s]” with the former CEO. They have yet to issue comments on allegations against Ailes or his resignation.
With the quest to replace the fallen former CEO is in full swing, internal sources from Fox News have told news outlets that Ailes will be difficult to replace. News of his resignation reportedly plunged the channel’s set in Cleveland into chaos, and one person on the set told Politico it “felt like a funeral.” Another staffer told Forbes of Ailes, “No one will have the same authority or fear factor, no one messes with him,” and noted how Ailes additionally “set an agenda everyone falls in line with.”
In a statement released Thursday, Murdoch said of Ailes, “Roger Ailes has made a remarkable contribution to our company and our country. Roger shared my vision of a great and independent television organization and executed it brilliantly over 20 great years.” He added that Ailes had “defied the odds” in “lead[ing] a flourishing news channel” and “build[ing] Fox Business.”
After Carlson’s initial allegations against Ailes earlier this month, more than a dozen additional allegations were made from women who worked with Ailes. Sexual abuse allegations against Ailes ranged from inappropriate sexual comments, to offering career advancement for sex, to exposing himself and demanding oral sex, to attempting to lock a 19-year-old in a hotel room with him over the course of the past decades. Fox News’ most high-profile female anchor, Megyn Kelly, reportedly told investigators Ailes had harassed her, too, although she has yet to speak out publicly about her experiences.
The news channel has a noted penchant for misogyny that ranges from casually sexist on-air comments to maligning abortion and slamming reproductive rights for women, to allegedly,rampant sexual misconduct by a higher-up who has since resigned. That Ailes will reportedly leave $40 million richer for having allegedly abused so many female employees doesn’t exactly mend its reputation for sexism.