Gretchen Carlson Says Her Kids Are 'More Courageous' After Roger Ailes Sexual Harassment Scandal
Now, 16-year-old Kaia Close is supporting her mom through the next chapter of the story — Showtime’s The Loudest Voice. The mother-daughter-duo attended the premiere of the six-part miniseries together.
“It was really important to bring [my daughter] because she’s been along this journey with me for the last three years,” Carlson, 53, told PEOPLE on the red carpet. “My kids were the most important thing in this whole process because I knew I was going to be attacked coming forward, unfortunately, but I didn’t want my kids to face that.”
The Loudest Voice follows Ailes (who died from a head injury sustained during an accidental fall in 2017) and Fox New’s rise to power. Oscar nominee Naomi Watts plays Carlson in the highly-anticipated series.
Carlson recalled the incredible strength her kids showed in the weeks and months after she spoke out.
The journalist and author remembered her son, Christian Close, saying, “I want to be a part of fixing that” after seeing his mom talk about harassment on CNN. She also watched Kaia stand up to school bullies. “She said to me, ‘Mommy, I did it because I saw you do it’.”
“What I found out is that the courage it took me to come forward is actually contagious,” she told PEOPLE. “They got it. Both my son and my daughter have become more courageous in their lives and the impact that me coming forward has come on them, has probably been the most important thing I’ve done in my life so far.”
Carlson, who met Watts for the first time at last night’s premiere, said she “hopes for accuracy” as the miniseries starts to roll out.
“I feel like I’ve known [Watts] forever,” Carlson told PEOPLE. “I’ve watched her interviews, I was told how much research she put into the project. So, I’m just really happy that an actress of such high caliber decided to take on this role.”
The former Miss America chairwoman reached a $20 million settlement in her sexual harassment lawsuit against Ailes in 2016.
“I felt shame, and embarrassment, and responsibility,” she said at the Simmons Leadership Conference last year. “But fortunately, taking power back doesn’t have a shelf life. Yes, it took me a quarter century to say that I had been assaulted, because I actually bought into the myth that by winning Miss America and being a public figure, that I had asked for it. By pursuing public life, women invite assault is one of the most insidious myths out there. We have the change to change this perception.”
The Loudest Voice premieres June 30 on Showtime.