Ex-Fox News employee says Roger Ailes sexually exploited her for 20 years ...
Laurie Luhn in an interview detailed coercive relationship that she says involved Ailes paying her for sexual favors with cash, mentoring, jobs and promotions
Luhn said she was motivated to speak out by the recent spate of sexual harassment allegations against Ailes. Photograph: Fred Prouser/Reuters
A former Fox News employee told New York magazine that ousted chairman Roger Ailes had sexually exploited and “psychologically tortured” her for more than 20 years.
Laurie Luhn, in an extensive interview published Friday afternoon, detailed a coercive relationship that she said began in 1988 and involved Ailes paying her for sexual favors – with cash, mentoring, jobs and promotions.
Luhn signed a $3.15m settlement with Fox News in 2011 that barred her from speaking publicly but told the magazine that she was motivated to speak out by the recent spate of sexual harassment allegations against Ailes.
“He’s a predator,” she said.
Susan Estrich, Ailes’ attorney, said in a statement: “Roger denied these allegations in 2011 and he denies them now. He wishes Ms. Luhn well.”
“Based on her statements, it is disturbing that she is the subject of one reporter’s journalistic exploitation,” Estrich added.
Luhn worked as a booker and event planner for Fox News from its launch in 1996 until 2011.
When she joined Fox News, she said, she had already been involved with Ailes for five years. The young Republican had contacted Ailes in 1990 in hopes of getting a job and was offered a $500 monthly retainer to perform “research”.
Luhn told New York that their relationship became sexual in 1991, when Ailes demanded that she dance in lingerie and perform oral sex on him, saying: “Tell me you will do what I tell you to do, when I tell you to do it. At any time, at any place when I call. No matter where I call you, no matter where you are. Do you understand? You will follow orders.”
The relationship, and cash payments, continued when Luhn began working at Fox News, where she said the arrangement was an open secret.
“They all knew there was quid pro quo,” Luhn said.
In addition to oral sex, Luhn said that Ailes demanded she perform “sadomasochistic sex with another woman” for him on three occasions, and that he used her to recruit and hire attractive young women, then arrange private meetings with him.
“You’re going to find me ‘Roger’s Angels.’ You’re going to find me whores,” she said he told her.
Luhn began struggling with mental illness and had a series of mental breakdowns, beginning in 2007. She remained at the company until 2011.
She told New York that she informed Fox lawyer Dianne Brandi of her sexual harassment in late 2010 or 2011. The $3.15m settlement barred her from suing Fox or speaking to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or FBI.
Ailes was forced out of Fox News last week, in the wake of numerous allegations of sexual harassment, including a lawsuit filed in July by former Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson, who accused him of retaliating against her after she refused his sexual advances.
More than 20 women have since come forward with allegations of sexual harassment, according to Carlson’s legal team.
On Friday afternoon, Carlson responded to Luhn’s account on Twitter.
Gretchen Carlson ✔ @GretchenCarlson
My heart breaks 4 you Laurie. Thx 4 being brave & telling ur story too. @gabrielsherman @NYMag
5:23 PM - 29 Jul 2016
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Fmr. Fox Booker: Harassed by Ailes for 20 Years 'He’s a predator.' nymag.com
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