In a leaked chapter from the 45-year-old journalist’s upcoming memoir Settle for More, Kelly said Ailes’ made inappropriate remarks about her clothing and suggested he would help advance her career “in exchange for sexual favors.”
In the chapter (first released by Radar Online), Kelly claims that after months of harassment, the 76-year-old “crossed a new line” in January 2006 when he grabbed her and repeatedly tried to kiss her. Upon shoving him away, Kelly alleges Ailes asked her the “ominous question” of “When is your contract up?” before trying to kiss her for a third time.
Kelly says she never succumbed to any of his advances that she claims stopped after six months once she reported Ailes’ behavior to her supervisor.
Ailes’ attorney Susan Estrich told PEOPLE in a statement: “Mr. Ailes denies her allegations of sexual harassment or misconduct of any kind.” The statement also referred back to Kelly’s words about Ailes on Charlie Rose: “I really care about Roger. And he has been nothing but good to me. And he’s been very loyal. And he’s had my back. And he’s looked out for me.”
Kelly first joined Fox News as a Washington correspondent in 2004. Her show, The Kelly File, is one of the network’s most popular shows. She is reportedly currently in contract negations, hoping to upgrade her current deal, which expires next July, to an average annual salary north of $20 million for her next contract, which would put her earnings on par with fellow Fox News host Bill O’Reilly.
Her accusation comes months after former Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson filed a sexual harassment suit against Ailes. He has denied all accusations of harassment against Carlson as well.
At the time Carlson’s lawsuit went public, Kelly writes that she was pressured to put out positive statement about Ailes but refused. Greta Van Susteren defended Ailes in the wake of the lawsuit but went back on her support of Ailes after her departure from the network in September.
Radar reports that Kelly’s chapter on Ailes, in which she writes about the harassment, was a last-minute addition to her book ( which is being published by HarperCollins — a publishing company owned by the same parent company of Fox News, 21st Century Fox). She explained in the chapter that the time had come to speak up about the harassment.