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Fox News: media chief resigns over sexual harassment claim

Media mogul, Rupert Murdoch will assume the role of CEO of Fox News and Fox Business Network on an interim basis, following the resignation of Roger Ailes on Thursday after a sexual harassment claim.

Until his resignation, Ailes was the chairman and chief executive of Fox News channel.

Reuters reported that Murdoch, 85, the Executive Chairman of Twenty-First Century Fox INC, the parent of Fox News, will assume the dual role untill a substantive replacement is made.

Quoting a source, Reuters said, Ailes, who will serve as an informal adviser to Rupert Murdoch and no longer have an official role at the company, will receive a severance package of about $40 million.

In his resignation letter to Murdoch, Ailes did not indicate he had done anything wrong.

“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,” Ailes wrote in the letter, which his lawyer Susan Estrich provided to Reuters.

However, he added: “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.”

The resignation marks a swift downfall for Ailes, the 76-year-old media executive who advised several U.S. Republican presidents, including George H.W. Bush, and turned Fox News into the most-watched U.S. cable news channel.

His departure comes on the final and biggest night of the Republican National Convention, where Donald Trump formally accepted the Republican presidential nomination.

Former Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson sued Ailes earlier this month, claiming sexual harassment. Ailes has denied the charges. Fox hired a law firm to conduct an internal investigation.

New York magazine followed up with reports of other women who said they had been harassed by Ailes. On Tuesday, the magazine said that popular Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly had told investigators hired by Fox that Ailes “made unwanted sexual advances toward her” about 10 years ago.

Ailes, who founded the cable channel in 1996, did not sexually harass Kelly, according to a statement attributed to his lawyer in the New York Times on Tuesday.

The resignation comes as Fox News, known for a lineup of politically conservative commentators including best-selling author Bill O’Reilly, is drawing record viewership. The network is the most-watched channel in all of basic cable television this year with an average of 2.2 million prime-time viewers, according to Nielsen data through June.


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