Gretchen Carlson, the former Fox News host who filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against former Fox News Chairman and CEO Roger Ailes, says she has experienced several unwanted sexual advances since being crowned Miss America in 1989.
In a clip from an upcoming 20/20 special titled Crossing Lines: Women and Men at Work, Carlson, 50, tells Good Morning America‘s Amy Robach about the many times she encountered sexual harassment while trying to break into TV journalism.
“With this particular man, he spent most of the day helping me and I thought, ‘Wow, this guy’s being so nice,’ ” she recalls of one instance. “We went to dinner and we were in the backseat of a car … and before I knew it he was on top of me and his tongue was down my throat. I quickly got out of the car and I was flustered and started sobbing. And I remember being inconsolable and thinking, ‘Well, I’ll never speak to him again.’ And I didn’t.”
In July, Carlson accused Ailes of continuous sexual harassment and alleged he fired her from Fox News on June 23, just months after “shunning” the anchor for refusing to engage in a sexual relationship with him
Fox News reached a $20 million settlement with Carlson in September with the network issuing a statement: “During her tenure at Fox News, Gretchen exhibited the highest standards of journalism and professionalism. She developed a loyal audience and was a daily source of information for many Americans. We are proud that she was part of the Fox News team. We sincerely regret and apologize for the fact that Gretchen was not treated with the respect and dignity that she and all of our colleagues deserve.”
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Ailes was not the only person to make sexual advances on Carlson, the former anchor claims. She tells Robach that just weeks after the car incident, she was assaulted again a few weeks later in Los Angeles by a “very high-powered PR executive.”
“Again, we were in a car and he took my head and my neck and he shoved my face into his crotch so forcefully that I couldn’t breathe,” she says. “And I remember thinking to myself, ‘this is happening again?’ ”
Since accusing Ailes, Carlson has opened up about her fight against sexual harassment in the work place.
“I think this is happening every single day to women in all walks of life and in all different types of corporations,” Carlson previously told TIME. “I’ve heard from so many women, from Wall Street to a tiny little town in Alabama. It’s everywhere.”
20/20′s Crossing Lines: Women and Men at Work, featuring interviews with other sexual harassment accusers, will air Friday at 10 p.m. ET on ABC.