Gretchen Carlson felt 'validated' when Roger Ailes was forced out of Fox

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Roger Ailes resigns as Fox News chairman

When Gretchen Carlson filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against former Fox News chairman and CEO Roger Ailes, she had no idea she wasn't the only woman who'd been subject to Ailes's repeated advances for years. "I thought I would be fighting this all by myself," she told the Washington Post in her first interview since the case was filed.

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But as more and more women came forward with similar stories, including Fox superstar Megyn Kelly, the Murdochs used the women's complaints to force Ailes out of the company, in one of the highest-profile ousters at any major news network.

See images of Gretchen Carlson through the years:

Gretchen Carlson through the years
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Gretchen Carlson through the years
GREENWICH, CT - JUNE 11: Gretchen Carlson attends Women at the Top: Female Empowerment in Media Panel at the 2016 Greenwich International Film Festival on June 12, 2016 in Greenwich, Connecticut. (Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images for GIFF)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JUNE 12: (L-R) Fox News Channel Host Gretchen Carlson speaks onstage during a 'Fireside Chat on Persecuted' panel at Variety's Purpose: The Family Entertainment and Faith-Based Summit in association with Rogers And Cowan at Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills on June 12, 2014 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Rich Polk/Getty Images for Variety)
NEW YORK, NY - JULY 19: (L-R) Fox & Friends hosts Steve Doocy, Gretchen Carlson and Brian Kilmeade during 'FOX & Friends' All American Concert Series outside of FOX Studios on July 19, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JULY 13: Host Gretchen Carlson and Craig Morgan speak during 'FOX & Friends' All American Concert Series at FOX Studios on July 13, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Charles Norfleet/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - JULY 15: (L-R) 'FOX & Friends' hosts Steve Doocy, Gretchen Carlson and Brian Kilmeade greet the crowd during a taping of 'FOX & Friends' at FOX Studios on July 15, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 20: (L-R) Cookbook authors brothers Jamie and Bobby Deen visit FOX & Friends and talk to host Gretchen Carlson, at FOX & Friends at FOX Studios on April 20, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 18: Elmo and host Gretchen Carlson visits 'FOX & Friends' at the FOX Studios on November 18, 2010 in New York City. (Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 09: Ali Landry (C) poses for a photo with 'FOX & Friends' Co-hosts Gretchen Carlson and Steve Doocy outside the FOX studios on September 9, 2010 in New York City. (Photo by Paul Morigi/Getty Images)
Gretchen Carlson (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic)

Sure, they also gave him $40 million, but Carlson said her overwhelming feeling when she heard the news was of "validation," and then, eventually, anger: "I felt angry that it took so long," she said.

Carlson said she was grateful Kelly, among others, had come forward. "I appreciated that she told the truth, and I know it was risky," she said, but held that "the multitude of women" who came forward — and not just Kelly's testimony — was what ultimately forced Fox's hand. She added that she wasn't surprised when current Fox employees rushed to defend Ailes after she'd gone public:

"Some of them were lawyers. They should have known better, so I was surprised. It was like, 'Wow, you have no idea what you're talking about," she said. "But I was at Fox a long time. I know how it works. You could sense that it all was orchestrated."

She went on:

"We've moved the conversation, but we haven't changed the world in three weeks. I don't want to tell women they won't be retaliated against. One of the big parts of this equation is men. It will take men to change the environment, too. It's paramount that ... men treat their colleagues like they would want to see their mother treated."

But when asked if she regretted effectively ending Ailes's career, she replied with just a single word: "No."

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