Alisyn Camerota on Her Kids' Reaction to Sexual Harassment Allegations Against Late Roger Ailes: They Hugged Me
"They just threw their arms around me and started hugging me and saying, 'Mom, we're so proud of you,' " Alisyn Camerota says of her twin daughters
Alisyn Camerota has an amazing support system in her kids.
The CNN anchor covered Working Mother‘s October/November issue, chatting with the magazine about the sexual harassment claims she made in April against her former Fox News colleague Roger Ailes, who died less than a month after Camerota went public with her allegations.
“When I decided to talk about it publicly, my daughter happened to be in the room when the interview was airing, so we watched it,” says Camerota, 51, who shares fraternal twins Francesca and Alessandra, 12, and son Nathaniel, 10, with husband Tim Lewis.
“My girls were so cute. They just threw their arms around me and started hugging me and saying, ‘Mom, we’re so proud of you,’ ” she adds. “It’s so adorable and touching to me that they have that in them already.”
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Nathaniel was supportive of his mom, too, but didn’t quite grasp the full details surrounding the situation — one Camerota tells Working Mother involved an invitation to a hotel from Ailes, the network’s former president, when she expressed interest in growing in her career.
“I overheard him telling his best friend, ‘My mom’s boss touched her butt.’ I had to say, ‘No, he didn’t, that’s not the story,’ ” she explains of her son. “I don’t think he understood the nuances of sexual harassment at the time; he thought a butt must be involved. I had to clarify for him. He understands now.”
Though the experience in coming forward has been challenging in terms of how Camerota communicates with her children about it, she has found the positives in the form of lessons to impart — and encouraging trust and transparency in her household.
“I’m hoping to model that behavior of, ‘Let’s talk about things, even challenging, uncomfortable or unpleasant things.’ It’s working at the moment,” she says. “The message for all of us — adults and my kids — is that silence is rarely the answer, and communication can bring some light to the situation.”
“I’m happy to say they’re asking me sensitive questions, and I’m trying to answer the best way I can,” Camerota continues of her trio. “When something has happened in their world, my kids have shared it with me, even when they were sworn to secrecy.”
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The mother of three may have future journalists on her hands. Camerota — who recently released her debut novel Amanda Wakes Up, inspired by her 16-year career as a female anchor at Fox News — admits her kids are extremely interested in her career.
“They ask lots of questions about my job and think about their own future jobs and choices,” she says. “They would never think that what I’m doing is not real or important. They’ve always known how significant it is. But they have heard that CNN has been under siege in the current climate, and they are concerned.”
And like most parents in 2017, Camerota is concerned about social media, calling herself “old-fashioned” in the sense that she prefers “real human interaction” over online relationships.
“I worry about my kids’ cyber futures, particularly in the love-life department,” she explains. “It seems their generation meets online instead of the way we did. I know I’m fighting a current, but I’m trying to prolong their interactions with people for as long as possible. It’s important to be able to speak directly to people, have real conflict and resolve it.”