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Roger Ailes resigned on Thursday as the CEO and chairman of the Fox News Channel.
In a statement released on Thursday afternoon, Fox News parent company 21st Century Fox announced that Executive Chairman Rupert Murdoch will assume the role of acting chairman and CEO.
“Roger Ailes has made a remarkable contribution to our company and our country,” Murdoch said in a statement. “Roger shared my vision of a great and independent television organization and executed it brilliantly over 20 great years.”
Rumors have swirled about Ailes’ departure over the past several days following a lawsuit filed by former Fox News host Gretchen Carlson. It alleged that Ailes repeatedly sexually harassed her and enabled other male Fox News hosts to do the same.
New York magazine reported earlier this week that Lachlan and James Murdoch, 21st Century Fox’s respective executive chairman and CEO, had agreed to part ways with Ailes amid an internal investigation that revealed Ailes’ potential pattern of harassment among other female employees at the network.
In a statement on Thursday, Carlson’s attorneys applauded the women at Fox who spoke out about Ailes’ alleged harassment.
“Within just two weeks of her filing a lawsuit against Roger Ailes, Gretchen Carlson’s extraordinary courage has caused a seismic shift in the media world,” Nancy Erika Smith and Martin Hyman said.
“We hope that all businesses now understand that women will no longer tolerate sexual harassment and reputable companies will no longer shield those who abuse women. We thank all the brave women who spoke out about this issue. We will have more to say in coming days as events unfold.”
The Drudge Report shared an apparent draft of Ailes’ separation agreement, which included a hefty $40 million separation agreement, but quickly removed the draft.
Shortly after 21st Century Fox announced Ailes’ resignation, Drudge shared a copy of the outgoing CEO’s resignation letter. In it, Ailes highlighted his promotion of women at the network:
“With your support, I am proud that we have built Fox News and Fox Business Channels into powerful and lucrative news organizations that inform our audience and reward our shareholders.
“I take particular pride in the role that I have played advancing the careers of the many women I have promoted to executive and on-air positions. Many of these talented journalists have deservedly become household names known for their intelligence and strength, whether reporting the news, fair and balanced, and offering exciting opinions on our opinion programs. Fox News has become Number 1 in all of cable because I consistently identified and promoted the most talented men and women in television, and they performed at the highest levels.
“Having spent 20 years building this historic business, I will not allow my presence to become a distraction from the work that must be done every day to ensure that Fox News and Fox Business continue to lead our industry. I am confident that everyone at Fox News and Fox Business will continue as the standard setters that they are, and that the businesses are well positioned for even greater success in the future.
“I am proud of our accomplishments and look forward to continuing to work with you as an adviser in building 21st Century Fox.”
Over his 20-year tenure at the network, the former media specialist and Republican operative shaped the network’s conservative-leaning message, and oversaw operations as Fox overtook cable-news rivals CNN and MSNBC.