Fox News Boss Roger Ailes Quits Network amid Gretchen Carlson Sexual Harassment Lawsuit

Ailes is exiting his role at Fox news in the wake of sexual harassment claims by former anchor Gretchen Carlson

Photo: Wesley Mann/FOX News via Getty

Roger Ailes‘ days at Fox News have come to an end, PEOPLE has confirmed.

Fox News confirmed Ailes’ exit on Thursday with an official statement from Rupert Murdoch, who will step in as chairman and acting CEO of Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network.

“Roger Ailes has made a remarkable contribution to our company and our country,” Murdoch, 85, said in the statement. “Roger shared my vision of a great and independent television organization and executed it brilliantly over 20 great years. Fox News has given voice to those who were ignored by the traditional networks and has been one of the great commercial success stories of modern media.”

Murdoch continued, “I am personally committed to ensuring that Fox News remains a distinctive, powerful voice. Our nation needs a robust Fox News to resonate from every corner of the country.”

Murdoch’s sons, Lachlan and James, also contributed their own statements: “We join our father in recognizing Roger’s remarkable contributions to our company. Our talented Fox News and Fox Business colleagues, up and down the organization and on both sides of the camera, have built something that continues to redefine the cable news experience for millions of viewers. We are enormously proud of their accomplishments. For them, as well as for our colleagues across our entire organization, we continue our commitment to maintaining a work environment based on trust and respect. We take seriously our responsibility to uphold these traditional, long-standing values of our company.”

The wheels were set in motion for Ailes’ dismissal earlier this month after former Fox News host Gretchen Carlson filed suit against Ailes, claiming sexual harassment and retaliation.

According to papers obtained by PEOPLE, Carlson is alleging that her former employer had “unlawfully retaliated against Carlson and sabotaged her career because she refused sexual advances and complained about severe and pervasive sexual harassment.”

Responding to Carlson’s claims, Ailes released a statement to PEOPLE.

“Gretchen Carlson’s allegations are false,” he said in the statement. “This is a retaliatory suit for the network’s decision not to renew her contract, which was due to the fact that her disappointingly low ratings were dragging down the afternoon lineup. When Fox News did not commence any negotiations to renew her contract, Ms. Carlson became aware that her career with the network was likely over and conveniently began to pursue a lawsuit.”

After the allegations were made, six more women – four who remain anonymous – came forward claiming that they had similar experiences with Ailes over multiple decades.

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. The latest allegations, all 30 to 50 years old, are false.”

Since the suit, prominent figures such as Greta Van Susteren, Jeanine Pirro, Elisabeth Hasselbeck and Ainsley Earhardt have come to Ailes’ defense.

“I want the public to know that this is a man with a really good heart,” Earhardt told PEOPLE. “In my experience, he has had my best interest in mind and he has my family’s best interest in mind. He is a family man and he is a father figure, and I will always be grateful to him for giving me a promotion when a lot of people wouldn’t have.”

Ailes was the CEO of Fox News for nearly 20 years.

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