Audio tapes of Roger Ailes could lead to massive sex harassment settlement

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Roger Ailes Resigns From Fox

Multiple women taped their conversations with former Fox News chief Roger Ailes, according to a report in Vanity Fair. Those tapes could be a key factor in forcing 21st Century Fox and Ailes to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit with ex-"Fox & Friends" host Gretchen Carlson, possibly for as much as eight figures, the report states.

SEE ALSO: Fox News host says she was taken off the air after making sexual-harassment claims against Ailes

Ailes was forced to step down as chairman and CEO of Fox News Channel last month, just weeks after Carlson filed her lawsuit alleging sexual misconduct. Several more women have since come forward, both anonymously and using their names, to claim harassment by Ailes stretching back 40 years.

RELATED: Female victims of sexual violence by type of perpetrator

In agreeing to go, Ailes was awarded a reported $40 million — the amount left on his current contract. Vanity Fair reports that Fox is asking Ailes to contribute to a settlement with Carlson. Ailes' representatives have strongly denied any misconduct.

See images of Ailes throughout the years:

11 PHOTOS
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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Also Monday, New York Magazine reported allegations that yet another Fox host, Andrea Tantaros, was taken off the air after complaining about Ailes' harassment. Tantaros' attorney told the magazine that she complained to Bill Shine, Fox's executive vice president, as well as senior vice president Suzanne Scott and general counsel Dianne Brandi. She believed the complaints were not investigated.

Tantaros was demoted and ultimately suspended from the network. Fox told New York that Tantaros was suspending for failing to allow the network to vet her book before publication. Tantaros alleged that Ailes made sexually charged comments to her in late 2014 and early 2015. On the first occasion, he allegedly told her to "twirl" for him and she refused. A few months later, he tried to give her a hug. On a third occasion, he asked about her workout routine and said she must "really look good in a bikini."

When Tantaros filed a complaint, Shine allegedly told her that Ailes is "a very powerful man" and advised that she "should not fight this."

According to the Vanity Fair report, Fox's internal investigation has expanded from a review of Ailes' behavior to include the conduct of other executives.

RELATED: Outcomes of workplace sexual harassment complaints

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