Fox News Chairman and CEO Roger Ailes is alleging in a lawsuit that aspiring news reporter Asheigh Carter tried to tempt him into infidelity as she sought a job on his popular cable news channel.
“My client is traumatized and humiliated by the experience of having Ashleigh Carter stroke his chin and breathe into his ear during a meeting to discuss her qualifications to be a reporter for the Fox News team,” John Peterson, an attorney for Ailes, said in a statement.
According to the statement, Carter, 25, a former Dallas Cowboys cheerleader, sent him pictures of her and promised him “moments he’ll remember” if he would just give her an interview.
“The harassment was continuous, from December 2015 to June 2016, when Mr. Ailes finally and reluctantly agreed to meet with Ms. Carter in his office in New York City,” Peterson said. “Mr. Ailes did not feel Ms. Carter was a good fit for Fox News because her background was not in hard news but in professional cheerleading.”
Peterson added that Carter also worked as a swimsuit model and was being considered for a role in a remake of Baywatch, but the TV program was never made.
Doug Stevens, an attorney representing Carter, did not dispute that his client breathed into Ailes’ ear, but she did so in the misguided belief that the attraction between them was mutual. “My client doesn’t deny that she was attracted to Mr. Ailes,” said Stevens. “You could say she had a crush on him. The last thing she wanted to do was force herself on him. She honestly thought he felt the same way about her as she felt about him, so this is simply a misunderstanding between a news executive and an innocent young woman who desired him and thought the desire was mutual. She also thought she would like to be reporter.”
Stevens said he’s hoping to come to a settlement, but he acknowledges he has an uphill battle ahead of him. “My client tried to tempt a man who could not be tempted,” he said. “But we will try, because at the end of the day, this is about attraction unrequited. Who could not be at least a little moved by the sting of rejection my client felt when Mr. Ailes refused to return her affection?”
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