Fox’s Ailes Wants Gretchen Carlson Harassment Case Moved to N.Y.

  • He says suit filed in New Jersey is meant as ‘smear campaign’
  • She says human rights law claims don’t belong in arbitration

Fox News’ Roger Ailes is trying to get Gretchen Carlson’s sexual harassment lawsuit moved from New Jersey to New York and ultimately into arbitration, where it would be resolved behind closed doors instead of in open court.

Ailes said Carlson brought the case in New Jersey state court in Bergen, naming only him and not Fox News, to avoid her contractual commitment to arbitrate her claims and to “publicly engage in a smear campaign” against him, according to a request by Ailes to compel arbitration filed Friday in Manhattan federal court.

“Ms. Carlson’s ploy of filing against Mr. Ailes alone in the Superior Court of New Jersey to justify her shameless publicity campaign should not be countenanced,” lawyers for Ailes said in the filing.

Carlson contends her contract with Fox allows her to sue Ailes in a public court rather than to proceed through secret arbitration, her lawyers said Friday in a filing in federal court in New Jersey. She said her sexual harassment and retaliation claims under New York Human Rights Law don’t amount to a contractual dispute with Fox that would require arbitration.

"Ms. Carlson’s complaint expressly alleges that Ailes acted outside the scope of his agency, authority and employment and contrary to the interest of Fox News Network, and instead acted to satisfy his own prurient sexual interests," according to Carlson’s filing.

Carlson sued Ailes, Fox News Channel’s chairman, on July 6, claiming she was fired last month for refusing his sexual advances and complaining about his conduct. The allegations prompted parent company 21st Century Fox Inc. to begin an internal review.

Ailes has said the lawsuit was retaliation for the network’s decision not to renew Carlson’s contract because her “disappointingly low ratings were dragging down the afternoon lineup.”

When Carlson sued, she and her lawyer “commenced a carefully orchestrated, negative publicity attack against Mr. Ailes in the media, which blatantly violated” confidentiality provisions in Carlson’s contract, Ailes said in his filing Friday.

He also said that when Carlson’s contract expired, her salary was more than $1 million a year.

The cases are Carlson v. Ailes, 16-cv-04138, U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey, and Ailes v. Carlson, 16-cv-05671, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

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