What’s happening to Roger Ailes after the sexual assault allegations (spoiler: not much)

For a minute, it looked like former Fox News CEO Roger Ailes was going down for allegedly sexually harassing female employees. But anyone who knows anything about how the world works won’t be too shocked to know that Fox settled on Roger Ailes’ behalf in the Gretchen Carlson case, Reuters reports. Carlson settled for $2o million, which sounds like a lot of money, but when it comes to Fox News and Ailes, it’s basically chump change. Ailes got himself out of the situation without too much expense or any major scars to his reputation. Which is pretty fucking terrible.

I get why Carlson took the settlement, if only because it’s a way to be over and done with everything after leaving the network this spring. Carlson said in a statement she was grateful to the network for acting and that she’s ready to “move on to the next chapter” of her life.

Ailes has denied all the allegations against him and hasn’t admitted any guilt, though he did step down from his position as CEO. He’s even gone as far as to threaten a suit against New York magazine for running a story about all the allegations lodged against him by Carlson and other women.

It does help that the network is taking some of the blame in her case; they aren’t denying that something happened that shouldn’t have, but they aren’t going all the way. Fox said in a statement, “We sincerely regret and apologize for the fact that Gretchen was not treated with the respect and dignity that she and all of our colleagues deserve.” There are currently two other sexual harassment suits Fox is fighting in New York, and Vanity Fair reports the network has reached a settlement with them, too, but that hasn’t been confirmed by anyone other than their insider sources.

Ailes might not have to pay any of that cash himself, either. Even though Carlson sued him personally, the network is responsible for him as part of their contract agreements. It’s sort of bittersweet — the women should get what they deserve, and that includes the right to just get on with their lives and never look back at Fox News or Ailes, but the payouts ensure that all of this just goes away, and Ailes can carry on with his career, even though he’s a creep.

Media Reports Say Roger Ailes Negotiating Departure Terms At Fox News
CREDIT: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

He built his career on consulting politicians on how to deal with the media, and he’s currently advising Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump for the upcoming debates with Hillary Clinton. It’s a very strange move for a candidate who is often criticized for how he treats women. That the campaign would allow someone who just settled a sexual harassment suit and had to resign from his executive position at the network he founded implies that the Trump campaign doesn’t think there’s anything all that bad with the allegations against Ailes. It also shows that, at least within certain circles, Ailes will continue to get work and be successful.

There are some repercussions for the network, however. Megyn Kelly’s contract is up for renewal this year and she’s not sure she’s planning on staying at Fox. Similarly, longtime host Greta Van Sustern, who initially said she was surprised by Carlson’s allegations of harassment, announced that she would be leaving Fox. So, Roger Ailes might get to keep his political career and his cash, but it looks like people at Fox understand something was seriously wrong with the work culture he created at the cable network.