22 Jul 2016

Fox News boss resigns after sexual harassment accusations

9:56 am on 22 July 2016

Roger Ailes has resigned as Fox News chairman and chief executive after a number of women employees accused him of sexual harassment.

Roger Ailes, at left, with wife Elizabeth Tilson leaving  the News Corp building in New York, 19 July 2016.

Roger Ailes, left, with wife Elizabeth Tilson leaving the News Corp building in New York earlier this week. Photo: AFP

The network's parent company, 21st Century Fox, announced his resignation.

The announcement does not make specific note of the sexual harassment allegations, which have now come from multiple Fox presenters.

21st Century Fox executive co-chairman Rupert Murdoch wrote that Mr Ailes had made a "remarkable contribution" to Fox News.

Former Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson has sued Mr Ailes, claiming sexual harassment. He denies the charges.

In his resignation letter to Mr Murdoch, Mr Ailes said he did not want his presence to become a distraction from the company's work.

"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," he said.

"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," the letter said.

"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."

Investigation by law firm

Fox had hired the law firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison to conduct an internal investigation.

Earlier this week New York magazine reported that Rupert Murdoch and his sons James and Lachlan agreed the 76-year-old Mr Ailes should leave the company but had not settled on the timing.

Mr Ailes was a consultant for several US Republican presidents, including George H W Bush. He has been a confidant of Rupert Murdoch, who named him founding chief executive of Fox News Channel in 1996.

Under Mr Ailes' leadership, Fox News has become the top-rated US cable news channel.