NEW YORK MAGAZINE: Now Ailes had made himself a true liability: More than two dozen Fox News women told the Paul, Weiss lawyers about their harassment in graphic terms. The most significant of the accusers was Megyn Kelly, who is in contract negotiations with Fox and is considered by the Murdochs to be the future of the network. So important to Fox is Kelly that Lachlan personally approved her reported $6 million book advance from Murdoch-controlled publisher HarperCollins, according to two sources.
As the inevitability of an ouster became clear, chaos engulfed Ailes’s team. After news broke on the afternoon of July 19 that Kelly had come forward, Ailes’s lawyer Susan Estrich tried to send Ailes’s denial to Drudge but mistakenly emailed a draft of Ailes’s proposed severance deal, which Drudge, briefly, published instead. Also that day, Ailes’s allies claimed to conservative news site Breitbart that 50 of Fox’s biggest personalities were prepared to quit if Ailes was removed, though in reality there was no such pact. That evening, Murdoch used one of his own press organs to fire back, with the New York Post tweeting the cover of the next day’s paper featuring Ailes’s picture and news that “the end is near for Roger Ailes.”
Indeed, that evening Ailes was banned from Fox News headquarters, his company email and phone shut off. On the afternoon of July 21, a few hours before Trump was to accept the Republican nomination in Cleveland, Murdoch summoned Ailes to his New York penthouse to work out a severance deal. James had wanted Ailes to be fired for cause, according to a person close to the Murdochs, but after reviewing his contract, Rupert decided to pay him $40 million and retain him as an “adviser.” Ailes, in turn, agreed to a multiyear noncompete clause that prevents him from going to a rival network […]
The Murdochs must have hoped that by acting swiftly to remove Ailes, they had averted a bigger crisis. But over the coming days, harassment allegations from more women would make it clear that the problem was not limited to Ailes but included those who enabled him — both the loyal deputies who surrounded him at Fox News and those at 21st Century Fox who turned a blind eye. “Fox News masquerades as a defender of traditional family values,” claimed the lawsuit of Fox anchor Andrea Tantaros, who says she was demoted and smeared in the press after she rebuffed sexual advances from Ailes, “but behind the scenes, it operates like a sex-fueled, Playboy Mansion–like cult, steeped in intimidation, indecency and misogyny.” MORE