Sources: Megyn Kelly told Murdoch investigators that Roger Ailes sexually harassed her

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Report: Fox's Megyn Kelly Details Sexual Advances Made by Roger Ailes

As a chorus of prominent Fox News women have gone public defending Roger Ailes against the wave of sexual-harassment allegations sparked by former Fox News host Gretchen Carlson's lawsuit, the network's biggest star, Megyn Kelly, has been conspicuously silent. Kelly's refusal to join in Ailes's orchestrated defense has led to speculation about why.

Now we have the answer. According to two sources briefed on parent company 21st Century Fox's outside probe of the Fox News executive, led by New York–based law firm Paul, Weiss, Kelly has told investigators that Ailes made unwanted sexual advances toward her about ten years ago when she was a young correspondent at Fox. Kelly, according to the sources, has described her harassment by Ailes in detail.

Kelly's comments to investigators might explain why the Murdochs are moving so quickly to oust Ailes. As New York reported yesterday, Rupert and sons James and Lachlan, the three top executives at 21st Century Fox, have, according to multiple sources, decided that Ailes needs to be removed. Kelly, who has become something of a feminist icon thanks to her tangles with GOP nominee Donald Trump, is seen by many inside Fox as the future of the network. She's currently in contract negotiations, and given that Bill O'Reilly has said he's considering retirement, Fox can't afford to lose her.

See Megyn Kelly through the years:

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Megyn Kelly through the years
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Megyn Kelly through the years
Fox News host Megyn Kelly greets the crowd before interviewing Republican presidential candidate Texas Sen. Ted Cruz on Tuesday, March 8, 2016, at Calvary Baptist Church in Raleigh, N.C. (Travis Long/Raleigh News & Observer/TNS via Getty Images)
WATCH WHAT HAPPENS LIVE -- Pictured: Megyn Kelly -- (Photo by: Charles Sykes/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 24: Megyn Kelly (C), Darth Vader and Stormtroopers from the 501st Legion attend New York Philharmonic's Spring Gala, A John Williams Celebration at David Geffen Hall on May 24, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for New York Philharmonic)
LOUISVILLE, KY - MAY 07: Fox News reporter Megyn Kelly attends the 142nd Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 07, 2016 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Joey Foley/FilmMagic)
THE TONIGHT SHOW STARRING JIMMY FALLON -- Episode 0470 -- Pictured: Journalist Megyn Kelly during an interview on May 12, 2016 -- (Photo by: Andrew Lipovsky/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 02: Megyn Kelly attends the 'Manus x Machina: Fashion In An Age Of Technology' Costume Institute Gala at Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 2, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 30: Douglas Brunt and Megyn Kelly attend the 102nd White House Correspondents' Association Dinner on April 30, 2016 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Paul Morigi/WireImage)
MEGYN KELLY presents: Megyn Kelly (R) and Donald Trump (L) during the FOX special 'MEGYN KELLY presents' airing Tuesday, May 17 (8:00-9:01 PM ET/PT) on FOX. (Photo by Eric Liebowitz/FOX via Getty Images)
MEGYN KELLY presents: Megyn Kelly (R) interviews Michael Douglas (L) during the FOX Special MEGYN KELLY presents airing Tuesday, May 17 (8:00-9:01 PM ET/PT) on FOX. (Photo by Eric Liebowitz/FOX via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - APRIL 08: Journalist Megyn Kelly attends Variety's Power Of Women: New York 2016 at Cipriani Midtown on April 8, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Monica Schipper/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - APRIL 06: Megyn Kelly attends the 7th Annual Women in the World Summit Opening Night at David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center on April 6, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Laura Cavanaugh/FilmMagic)
Fox News host Megyn Kelly interviews Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., in Hialeah, Fla., Wednesday, March 9, 2016. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly waits to begin the Republican presidential candidate debate at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines, Iowa, U.S., on Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016. Candidates from both parties are crisscrossing Iowa, an agricultural state of about 3 million people in the U.S. heartland that will hold the first votes of the 2016 election on Feb. 1. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
DES MOINES, IA - JANUARY 28: Moderators Chris Wallace (L) pats on the shoulder of Megyn Kelly (2nd L) as they wait with Bret Baier (R) for the beginning of the Fox News - Google GOP Debate January 28, 2016 at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines, Iowa. Residents of Iowa will vote for the Republican nominee at the caucuses on February 1. Donald Trump, who is leading most polls in the state, decided not to participate in the debate. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
In this Thursday, Aug. 6, 2015 photo, Fox News moderators Megyn Kelly, right, listens as Chris Wallace, begins introductions during the first Republican presidential debate at the Quicken Loans Arena, in Cleveland. Angry over what he considered unfair treatment at the debate, republican presidential candidate Donald Trump told CNN on Friday night that Kelly had "blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever." (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Megyn Kelly arrives at the Vanity Fair Oscar Party on Sunday, Feb. 28, 2016, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)
GOOD MORNING AMERICA - Megyn Kelly appears on ABCs 'Good Morning America,' Friday, February 5, 2016. 'Good Morning America' airs Monday Friday (7-9am, ET) on the ABC Television Network. (Lorenzo Bevilaqua/ABC via Getty Images) MEGYN KELLY
THE TONIGHT SHOW STARRING JIMMY FALLON -- Episode 0411 -- Pictured: (l-r) Journalist Megyn Kelly during an interview with host Jimmy Fallon on February 4, 2016 -- (Photo by: Andrew Lipovsky/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
GOOD MORNING AMERICA - Megyn Kelly appears on ABCs 'Good Morning America,' Friday, February 5, 2016. 'Good Morning America' airs Monday Friday (7-9am, ET) on the ABC Television Network. (Lorenzo Bevilaqua/ABC via Getty Images) MEGYN KELLY
WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 13: News anchor Megyn Kelly speaks onstage during Fortune's Most Powerful Women Summit - Day 2 at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel on October 13, 2015 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Paul Morigi/Getty Images for Fortune/Time Inc)
Megyn Kelly attends The 35 Most Powerful People in Media hosted by The Hollywood Reporter at The Four Seasons Restaurant on Wednesday, April 8, 2015, in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision for The Hollywood Reporter/AP Images)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 21: TV personality Megyn Kelly attends the 2015 Time 100 Gala at Frederick P. Rose Hall, Jazz at Lincoln Center on April 21, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Taylor Hill/Getty Images)
Co-host Megyn Kelly attends 24th Annual Broadcasting and Cable Hall of Fame Awards at the Waldorf-Astoria on Monday, Oct. 20, 2014 in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 29: Megyn Kelly attends the 2014 Time 100 Gala at Frederick P. Rose Hall, Jazz at Lincoln Center on April 29, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by D Dipasupil/FilmMagic)
LATE NIGHT WITH SETH MEYERS -- Episode 080 -- Pictured: (l-r) Political commentator Megyn Kelly during an interview with host Seth Meyers on July 31, 2014 -- (Photo by: Lloyd Bishop/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
Sheryl Sandburg, chief operating officer of Facebook, responds to questions during a news interview with Megyn Kelly on the show, The Kelly File, in the FOX television studio Wednesday, April 9, 2014, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
CORRECTS SPELLING TO SANDBERG NOT SANDBURG Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer of Facebook, right, smiles after a news interview with Megyn Kelly, left, on the show, The Kelly File, on the FOX News Channel, Wednesday, April 9, 2014, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 27: Megyn Kelly attends at the benefit concert for Army SPC Bryan Dilberain at the Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts on April 27, 2012 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Photo by Andy Kropa/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 19: Kid Rock with host Megyn Kelly visits FOX's 'America Live' at FOX Studios on June 19, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Rob Kim/Getty Images)
Megyn Kelly, host of Fox News Channel's "The Kelly Files," rehearses for the debut of her new show, in New York, Friday, Oct. 4, 2013. Her program is the linchpin to the first overhaul of Fox's prime-time lineup since 2002, or about a century in television time. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
Megyn Kelly, host of Fox News Channel's "The Kelly Files," rehearses for the debut of her new show, in New York, Friday, Oct. 4, 2013. Her program is the linchpin to the first overhaul of Fox's prime-time lineup since 2002, or about a century in television time. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
FILE - In this March 6, 2012 file photo provided by Fox News, Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly poses at the anchor desk at the Fox studios in New York. Fox News says that Megyn Kelly, its popular daytime TV host, will move into the network’s prime-time lineup when she returns from maternity leave. Kelly announced this winter that she is expecting her third child sometime this summer. She’s still on the air. (AP Photo/Fox News, Alex Kroke)
ORLANDO, FL - SEPTEMBER 22: Fox anchor Megyn Kelly prepares for the Fox News/Google GOP Debate at the Orange County Convention Center on September 22, 2011 in Orlando, Florida. The debate features the nine Republican candidates two days before the Florida straw poll. (Photo by Charles Ommanney/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 10: Megyn Kelly, host of America Live on set at Fox News studios in New York. Fox News Channel celebrated its 15th anniversary on the air on October 7th.
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According to two sources, Monday afternoon lawyers for 21st Century Fox gave Ailes a deadline of August 1 to resign or face being fired for cause. Ailes's legal team — which now includes Susan Estrich, former campaign manager for Michael Dukakis — has yet to respond to the offer. Ailes has also received advice on strategy from Donald Trump and Rudy Giuliani, sources say.

Ailes's strategy so far has included attacking Kelly in the press. According to sources, Ailes spokesperson Irena Briganti has been criticizing Kelly to reporters, saying she is selfish to not stand up for the man who gave her career opportunities. Roughly a dozen Fox women have praised Ailes since Carlson filed her suit. According to a Fox source, the pro-Ailes campaign has been led by Fox anchor Kimberly Guilfoyle, who has filled in hosting Carlson's former 2 p.m. time slot.

Briganti did not respond to a request for comment.

Back in the mid-2000s, when Ailes allegedly harassed her, Kelly, a former corporate attorney, was a legal correspondent in Fox's Washington bureau. Soon she was appearing regularly on Bill O'Reilly's show and hosting her own legal segments. In 2010, Ailes gave her a two-hour daytime show, and in 2013, he moved her into prime time to replace Sean Hannity at 9 p.m.

Kelly's agent Matthew DelPiano at CAA did not respond to requests for comment. 21st Century Fox did not comment.

Meanwhile, the Paul, Weiss lawyers are attempting to interview former Fox employees who have stories of harassment but haven't spoken because they signed settlements with Ailes's Fox attorney, Dianne Brandi. 21st Century Fox is now waiving the NDAs to allow women to speak.

Also see Roger Ailes through the years:

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Roger Ailes through the years
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Roger Ailes through the years
NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 13: In this handout photo provided by FOX News, FOX News Channel Chairman and CEO Roger Ailes is photographed November 13, 2015 at the networks Manhattan headquarters New York City. (Photo by Wesley Mann/FOX News via Getty Images)
Bill O'Reilly, tv columnist, at left, shown here with Roger Ailes, Chairman and CEO of FOX tv at the Radio & TV Correspondents annual dinner held at the Washington Hilton. (Photo by Susan Biddle/The Washington Post/Getty Images)
SLUG: ST/AILES DATE: 3/23/99 NP PHOTOG: Helayne Seidman/FTWP multi use LOCATION: Fox News, 1211 6th Ave. NYC SUMMARY: Roger Ailes, president of Fox TV CAPTION: Roger Ailes, president of Fox TV, in the Fox TV control room. Original Filename: npsent.JPG ORG XMIT: ; 29
385602 07: Fox News Chairman and CEO Roger Ailes, right, testifies during a hearing on election night 2000 coverage by the networks before the House committee on energy and commerce February 14, 2001 on Capitol Hill in Washington, D. C. Heads of major news organizations have converged on Capitol Hill to testify before Congress, explaining the mistaken calls made on Election Night and promising changes to prevent further errors. (Photo by Alex Wong/Newsmakers)
WASHINGTON - OCTOBER 25: Chairman and CEO of the Fox News Network Roger Ailes participates in the 'America's Best Leaders: How do they lead? Where are they taking us?' National Issues Briefing hosted by U.S. News and World Report October 25, 2005 at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. The talk was held in collaboration with the Center for Public Leadership at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images for U.S. News and World Report)
NEW YORK - JUNE 26: (L-R) Variety Editor Peter Bart and Producer Roger Ailes attend a cocktail party hosted by Harvey and Bob Weinstein and Miramax Books to celebrate Peter Bart's new book ''BOFFO'' on June 26, 2006 in New York City. (Photo by Peter Kramer/Getty Images)
PASADENA, CA - JULY 24: Chairman & CEO, FOX News Roger Ailes from 'Fox News' speaks onstage during the 2006 Summer Television Critics Association Press Tour for the FOX Broadcasting Company at the Ritz-Carlton Huntington Hotel on July 24, 2006 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON - JANUARY 08: Roger Ailes, president of FOX News, poses with his wife Elizabeth on the red carpet upon arrival at a salute to FOX News Channel's Brit Hume on January 8, 2009 in Washington, DC. Hume was honored for his 35 years in journalism. (Photo by Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 11: Fox News President Roger Ailes attends the Hollywood Reporter celebrates 'The 35 Most Powerful People in Media' at the Four Season Grill Room on April 11, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Charles Eshelman/FilmMagic)
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JANUARY 21: Copies of the new book The Loudest Voice in the Room are displayed at a Books Inc. bookstore on January 21, 2014 in San Francisco, United States. The unauthorized biography of FOX News president Roger Ailes written by New York magazine writer Gabriel Sherman hit bookstore shelves on January 14. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 13: In this handout photo provided by FOX News, FOX News Channel Chairman and CEO Roger Ailes is photographed November 13, 2015 at the networks Manhattan headquarters New York City. (Photo by Wesley Mann/FOX News via Getty Images)
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