Gretchen Carlson Speaks Out for the First Time After Filing Sexual Harassment Lawsuit Against Roger Ailes

"I wanted to stand up for other women who maybe faced similar circumstances," Carlson told the New York Times

Photo: Noam Galai/Getty

Gretchen Carlson has spoken publicly for the first time since filing her sexual harassment lawsuit against Fox News Chairman and CEO Roger Ailes.

Carlson, 50, opened up to the New York Times about how Ailes, 76, allegedly made sexual advances toward her and did not renew her contract with the network because she complained about “severe and pervasive sexual harassment” at Fox News.

Ailes issued a statement saying Carlson’s “defamatory lawsuit is not only offensive, it is wholly without merit and will be defended vigorously.”

Since filing the suit one week ago, Carlson revealed she “finally felt it was time” to speak up. “I just wanted to stand up for myself, first and foremost. And I wanted to stand up for other women who maybe faced similar circumstances,” she said.

As for her former workplace, Carlson, who was on Fox’s morning show from 2006 to 2013, shared what it was like to be an employee of the network. “Everyone knew how powerful Roger Ailes was. I certainly felt intimidated by that,” she explained, adding, “The culture of Fox & Friends was intimidating to me.”

After Carlson’s lawsuit was made public, six women came forward claiming that they had similar experiences with Ailes over multiple decades.

Amid public backlash over Ailes’ alleged sexual advances, many notable figures have come to Ailes’ defense including Fox & Friends stars Ainsley Earhardt and Elizabeth Hasselbeck. When asked about her former colleagues standing by Ailes, Carlson said, “They’re still being paid by Fox.”

As for what she hopes to gain from filing the lawsuit, Carlson simply wants “to stand up for what happened to me and what was the truth.”

Barry Asen, the outside legal counsel for Ailes, released a statement to PEOPLE saying, “It has become obvious that Ms. Carlson and her lawyer are desperately attempting to litigate this in the press because they have no legal case to argue.”

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