Gretchen Carlson only filed a sexual harassment lawsuit because her contract wasn't renewed, according to the man she accuses of sexual harassment. The "allegations are false," Fox chairman Roger Ailes said in a statement Wednesday. "This is a retaliatory suit for the network’s decision not to renew her contract, which was due to the fact that her disappointingly low ratings were dragging down the afternoon lineup." Ailes said Fox "provided her with more on-air opportunities over her 11 year tenure than any other employer in the industry, for which she thanked me in her recent book." He added: "This defamatory lawsuit is not only offensive, it is wholly without merit and will be defended vigorously."
Fox said in a statement that while it has full faith in Ailes and Fox host Steve Doocy, whom Carlson also accuses of sexist behavior, "we have commenced an internal review of the matter." Carlson's attorney Nancy Erika Smith rejects Ailes' accusation that Carlson "conveniently began to pursue a lawsuit" when she suspected her Fox career was over. The lawsuit "didn't begin with her termination," Smith tells CNN, adding that Ailes' harassment of her client was "very consistent and very pervasive." A spokesman for Smith's law firm says that since Carlson's lawsuit was announced, no fewer than 10 other women have come forward wanting to speak about Ailes' behavior. Mediaite notes that Fox's Howard Kurtz filed a report on the lawsuit, which listed several occasions when Carlson had praised Ailes. (Read more Fox News stories.)