Just four years after going public with a sexual harassment lawsuit against Fox News chairman Roger Ailes, former Fox News host Gretchen Carlson calls the recent firing of Ed Henry a “victory” for women.
“Four years ago, nobody would have been paying attention to it,” Carlson tells Yahoo Entertainment about the news that broke on July 1 that Henry, co-anchor of America’s Newsroom, was fired as a result of a complaint made the week before about “willful sexual misconduct in the workplace years ago,” according to an internal memo from the network.
“Unfortunately it was rampant in every industry and every socioeconomic background in every profession. And now, people are having to face the music,” she says.
Carlson tweeted in response to the network’s statement that day with a request to relieve her and other women at the network who have come forward with allegations of their nondisclosure agreements.
W/ the latest revelations about Ed Henry at @foxnews — now would be the time for Fox to release all of us (@dianafalzone @julieroginsky) muzzled by NDAs (if everything has changed as they say it has). We’ve demanded & were waiting & why created @liftourvoicesus to help others! https://t.co/gNRR4gsiTH
— Gretchen Carlson (@GretchenCarlson) July 1, 2020
“If they've cleaned up everything, then they should relieve me from my NDA,” Carlson tells Yahoo Entertainment. “Which is what I'm fighting for right now, for all people to no longer be muddled in silence. If there's been so much forward-thinking and progress being made there, then they shouldn't have any problem with releasing me, my other colleagues in Lift Our Voices, Diana Falzone and Julie Roginsky and anyone else who's been forced to sign an NDA.”
Carlson, Falzone and Roginsky created the nonprofit organization Lift Our Voices in an effort to do just that — not only for women who have been forced to stay silent on issues of sexual misconduct but for all people to be treated and heard equally in the workplace.
“We're not advocating for people to be able to go around and give corporate secrets and things like that, but we're saying that they should be lifting NDAs for covering up bad behavior inside their workplaces, which has been going on for decades,” Carlson says. “NDAs have been a convenient way for companies, frankly, to hide their dirty laundry.”
When it comes to harassment in the workplace, in particular, Carlson says, “I never expected to be one of the poster children,” after filing a lawsuit against Ailes on July 6, 2016. After acknowledging the 4-year anniversary of that date on Monday, however, she assures that she doesn’t regret it.
— Gretchen Carlson (@GretchenCarlson) July 6, 2020
”I don't regret jumping off that cliff for one minute. It was the scariest decision that I've ever made and the scariest move, but I want to be a beacon of hope for everyone else out there that I was victorious and that's true through whatever risks that I took that other women can follow suit and they can join our fight together,” she says. “Some days it's incomprehensible to me what a big deal this all became. I mean, I could have also never known that. Like I thought I was just going to be sitting at home crying every day because I was fired from a career that I killed myself for. But instead, my gosh, look at the floodgates opened, we're in this massive cultural revolution. We've made such great strides, you know, there's so much more work to do.”
In terms of what her former workplace of Fox News has become, as notable hosts like Tucker Carlson remain in the spotlight for criticizing the response of medical experts to the coronavirus pandemic, making disparaging comments about the Black Lives Matter movement and, most recently, calling Democratic Sen. Tammy Duckworth a “moron” and a “coward,” the former host can’t say much.
“Just to tell you, first and foremost, that I'm not related to Tucker Carlson and we have the same last name,” Carlson jokes. “And I can tell you that I think that Tammy Duckworth is an American Patriot.”
Carlson will be featured on the MAKERS podcast, “DNA of a MAKER,” on Tuesday to discuss her ongoing efforts for women’s empowerment and the Lift Our Voices initiative, alongside host Lilliana Vazquez.
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