Kimberly Guilfoyle, a conservative woman anchor at Fox News and co-host of the highly successful program The Five, is speaking out in support of Roger Ailes—the chief executive at the network—as Ailes faces allegations of impropriety from a former anchor.
Guilfoyle, who defended Ailes from allegations of sexual harassment levied by former anchor Gretchen Carlson in a lawsuit filed last week after her contract was not renewed, told Breitbart News exclusively that “absolutely not,” Ailes never engaged in any of that alleged behavior in interactions with her.
“I’ve known the man very well the last 15 years,” Guiloyle said in a phone interview:
He’s someone who I admire greatly. He’s a champion of women. He has always been 100 percent professional, respectful, helpful in terms of mentoring me for television and in terms of making me a better anchor and putting me in the right role to develop me as a talent for the network where now I’m a co-host of The Five—which is one of the most popular watched shows in cable news. He’s directly responsible for that because he hand-picked everybody who’s on there, and we have a great history and it’s worked really well.
Guilfoyle said that “in terms of Roger’s character, integrity, and credibility, I cannot stand up enough for Roger.”
“I think he’s by far been the best mentor I’ve had in the business, and I’ve worked at CNN, and I filled in anchor prime-time at MSNBC,” Guilfoyle said, adding:
I’ve been on ABC’s Good Morning America. I’ve been on the Today Show, where I worked. So, I’m very strong and adamant about his level of professionalism 100 percent. Nothing inappropriate has ever transpired, nor am I aware of anything inappropriate that has ever transpired with any of the other women that I’ve ever talked to. I’ve talked to 30, at least, fellow female colleagues at Fox, and not one of them said anything inappropriate was ever said or transpired. In fact, they were all very upset to see this happen, and you know they know Roger Ailes would never treat them in this fashion.
Last week, it was announced that Gretchen Carlson—a former co-host of the morning show Fox and Friends, and later a solo host of her own program The Real Story with Gretchen Carlson in the afternoon—had filed a lawsuit alleging that Roger Ailes sexually harassed her. In it, she accused Ailes—Fox News’ CEO and chairman—of having told her in his office that he wanted to have sex with her.
“I think you and I should have had a sexual relationship a long time ago and then you’d be good and better and I’d be good and better,” Ailes allegedly told Carlson in his office, according to the lawsuit.
Carlson presents no evidence whatsoever to back up her case, only making the claim in the lawsuit—which the mainstream media have treated as fact since it was made.
What’s more, multiple sources inside the Fox News Channel tell Breitbart News that Carlson had a reputation in the building for treating staff and the so-called “underlings” like garbage. She would not talk much with staffers and acted in many ways “like a diva” who refused to even engage with anyone she looked at as “beneath her.”
“You can really tell a lot about a person when you see how they treat the staff,” one source said.
“She was mean to everyone inside the building and acted like the support staff were furniture,” another said.
A third added, “She wouldn’t even interact with people who helped put on her own show, and would constantly ignore them when they would come up to her. ‘I’m prepping. I’m prepping,’ she would say. So rude.”
Yet one more source added:
Most of the other anchors do nice things for the staff, like buy them lunch or dinner or breakfast—or take a personal interest in them. Carlson didn’t. Working in off-air roles is a hard thing to do, and the great people who do it don’t make as much money as the on-air staff. She didn’t seem to care about anyone but herself. She wasn’t just self-centered; she thought she was the center of the universe—and that the solar system itself revolved around her.
More details are likely to come out about Carlson soon, too, sources say, adding that Fox News and Ailes never go down without a fight. An internal document damning to Carlson’s case surfaced this weekend, showing that in the fall of 2015, there were concerns with her show, and Ailes had sent a briefing to Bill Shine—another executive at Fox News—relaying how they had a conversation about her struggling program. The document, which surfaced on LawNewz, undercuts her entire narrative.
“In her lawsuit, Carlson’s most damning claim is that during a September 2015 meeting in Ailes’ office, he stated to her: ‘I think you and I should have had a sexual relationship a long time ago and then you’d be good and better and I’d be good and better,’” LawNewz wrote about the matter, adding:
She then claims that following the meeting, in retaliation for her opposition to his advances, he denied her opportunities, including “severely curtailing her appearances as a guest commentator on prime time shows” and “blocking her from appearing as a substitute host on prime time or daytime panel shows.” However, a memo, provided to us by Fox News paints a different picture. Just days after the September 16, 2015, meeting, Ailes apparently told Bill Shine, the head of programming, to give it “another chance.” Ailes even suggested that he would be open to putting Carlson back on her time slot with primetime host Bill O’Reilly.
In addition to that document, LawNewz also obtained a handwritten note from Carlson herself that confirms Fox News and Ailes’ side of the story—and undermines Carlson’s narrative.
Given that there is no evidence to back up the claims she’s made—and that Carlson never brought these allegations up with anyone else, in the Human Resources Department or to any coworkers ever until her contract was not renewed—Guilfoyle joined several other prominent on-air women at Fox News to speak out against the allegations in defense of Ailes.
“It’s interesting. We wouldn’t even be having this conversation anyway, would we, if her contract had been renewed?” Guilfoyle told Breitbart News. She went on:
She wouldn’t even be bringing this if she had been getting paid new money on the new contract, I bet you. Why wasn’t this recorded or brought forward before? She’s a strong, smart woman—went to Stanford and has a good head on her shoulders. So why wouldn’t this have come forward before? Everybody is asking me—why now? Curious timing if you’re in a situation like that. If you’re in a hostile work environment, why wouldn’t you make a fresh complaint at the time? Why wouldn’t you take it immediately, as a strong powerful feminist, to HR and complain to your superiors? So again, we don’t have all the facts and the evidence. I’m just telling you what I would do as an attorney, as a former prosecutor, as I’m evaluating the case and going through it. What you’re trying to get at is the truth, and so part of what you would look at is motive or intention. Is it retaliatory because the contract wasn’t renewed? When people’s contracts are let go and there’s no new negotiation, it’s because you’re hired to do a job, and you’re no longer doing the job well that you were hired to do. Then you’re not renewed or your contract is terminated. That’s how business works.
Guilfoyle joins Maria Bartiromo, Greta Van Susteren, and Judge Jeanine Pirro, among other current on-air women speaking out in defense of Ailes.
Bartiromo, a highly successful journalist who has covered business and politics and was a breakout star during the 2016 GOP presidential primary debates, defended Ailes in an exclusive with Variety magazine.
“I’ve known Roger Ailes for 25 years since he first hired me at CNBC and hired me again two-and-a-half years ago. I’ve known him to be nothing but a professional,” Bartiromo said. “I’ve learned so much from him and continue to grow.”
Van Susteren, the host of Fox News’ primetime program On the Record, said in an interview with The Daily Beast’s Lloyd Grove that she believes Ailes is being “falsely accused.”
“Historically, I don’t like it when I think somebody is being falsely accused or wronged,” Van Susteren said. “I’m an old criminal defense attorney. This one’s wrong, based on my experience. The facts I know are that this is not the Roger Ailes I’ve ever heard about or seen.”
She added that in all the years she’s been there, she has not heard anything like this—but if she had, she’d march right into Ailes’ office and confront him about it.
“People talk. You hear a lot, and I never heard this,” Van Susteren told Grove. “Frankly, I’ve got to tell you. You know me. I’m pretty bold. If I heard that, I’d probably say something to Roger. I haven’t anything to lose. If I didn’t do this, I’d go teach at law school. I’m not a wilting flower.”
Pirro, who’s known Ailes for years before she started working at Fox and is a former prosecutor and former judge, defended Ailes in an interview with People magazine.
“When I started working for him, it was a little different,” Pirro told People, continuing:
It was a little more distant because he was running Fox. He always had a smile on his face and always was a delight. I’m a huge fan of Roger Ailes, not just in terms of his personality and the man I never thought I would work for, but more than that. I think he’s a giant. I think he’s [sic] does stuff in media that people said he couldn’t. I have tremendous admiration for him.
Kiran Chetry, a former Fox News anchor, who went on to be a CNN anchor, also defended Ailes in a lengthy blog entry at The Huffington Post.
“I can’t speak for Gretchen since I wasn’t in the room obviously but I will tell you that I never felt uncomfortable around Roger Ailes,” Chetry wrote in a long piece that walks through how great an experience she had at Fox News while working with Ailes. She added:
And that’s the reason I’m speaking out. Because I think this situation points to a larger issue —which is that there are very real instances where people are or feel sexually propositioned or intimidated by those in positions of power and are too afraid to speak out. That is a fact. The flip-side is whenever someone is accused of sexually harassing or intimidating someone who works under them, they are as good as dead reputation-wise.
Guilfoyle, in her exclusive interview with Breitbart News, walked through how people inside Fox News that she has spoken with think this is all “curious timing,” and that scores of women she works with have said there is no basis in fact to the allegations against Ailes. Guilfoyle also said she believes there is a political motivation here—namely that the mainstream media, which by and large wants presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton to win the election in November, want to sideline Fox News and Ailes.
“Curious timing, given the political nature of things going on right now and the conventions,” Guilfoyle said when asked what the mood was like among her colleagues about the reaction to this. She elaborated:
Shock and disbelief because Gretchen is someone who worked there and had been an employee of Fox News for 11 years, and they treated her very well in terms of positions—main anchor on Fox and Friends and then her own daytime show and a lot of effort and energy had gone forward to promote her and promote her show and promote her book. Fox News is a very supportive atmosphere, so yeah, people are shocked and in disbelief after their experiences with Roger Ailes and Fox News. You’ve seen Maria Bartiromo speak out, you’ve seen Greta Van Susteren speak out, you’ve seen Judge Jeanine Pirro speak out, and you see myself speak out. Again, we speak to what our personal experience has been over a very tremendous long time of knowing him. That should say something. That should speak for itself. I don’t know Gretchen’s personal interactions, but what I do know is I know the character and integrity of Roger Ailes and what I have been treated like there which has been exceptional in every way.
Specifically, regarding the political motivations of Ailes’ detractors, Guilfoyle—the former first lady of San Francisco when she was married to the city’s former Democratic Mayor Gavin Newsom, who is now California’s lieutenant governor—said Ailes and Fox News have been targets for a long time. The same crowd of detractors—Politico, New York Magazine’s Gabriel Sherman, and more—are out trying to take down Ailes now. Politico has written multiple pieces, and acts like Ailes is already gone.
“These are people that have tried to make a case against Roger Ailes and Fox News for years, so none of this would surprise me at all,” she said. Guilfoyle continued:
In fact, people trying to take an opportunity to go after the network or go after Mr. Ailes—you know, I’m a former prosecutor, strong woman, former first lady of San Francisco, and someone who has been a champion of women, of children, of victims of crimes. I’ll tell you, I would never stand by if I thought something like that was happening not only personally, but on behalf of one of my colleagues. I’ve fought for justice for a majority of my life, and I’m a very principled person, and I wouldn’t tolerate it. I wouldn’t stand for it. I’ve been around all kinds of people, defense attorneys, working with cops, working with politicians, both sides of the aisle, including Democrats as former first lady of San Francisco, and the Republicans, too, so I’ve had a front row seat to lots of things in life. I’m far from someone who is naive or hasn’t been around—so that’s why I felt compelled to speak up because it’s not right, especially given what I know about him as an individual and what I know about how women are treated at Fox News, in an exemplary fashion, and how people in tough positions, whether it’s Suzanne Scott, who runs the news division as vice president at Fox News, or you have Dianne Brani who’s the head of the legal department. You have female heads of Human Resources, Human Relations. You have also a female head of media relations in Irena Briganti. These are strong, powerful women that would not work for a man who was accused of these kinds of allegations if it were true. You get my point? Roger Ailes champions women, whether it’s Paula Zahn, who worked for Fox, Greta Van Susteren—we’ve always had a woman in primetime—Megyn Kelly, myself; I had a primetime show. You move around at Fox depending on where they need you. That’s what team players do. You pitch in. You know, you make it work.
Guilfoyle also added that everyone at Fox News is supportive of Ailes right now.
“The environment at Fox has been very supportive for Mr. Ailes,” she said, concluding:
People are very saddened to see something like this about somebody who’s been so powerful about putting women in positions of importance—and again, all the anchors at Fox News have had good experiences, the ones that I have talked to, like I said, were super supportive. Everybody I’ve spoken to, all of them, have said this has never happened to them. So I have super close relationships with the women at Fox News. We’re a team. We support one another, and that’s why I’m coming forward to tell the truth because the truth should matter.