Fox News' Elisabeth Hasselbeck and Ainsley Earhardt Come to Roger Ailes' Defense amid Sexual Harassment Claims
"He's just a legend, and I don't want his reputation smeared because he's worked really hard to just give all of us such a great life," the Fox co-host tells PEOPLE
When former Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson recently filed suit against Roger Ailes for sexual harassment, prominent figures began flocking to his defense. The latest to join them is including Fox & Friends co-host Ainsley Earhardt.
“I want the public to know that this is a man with a really good heart,” the Fox News host tells 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.”
Earhardt, 39, continued, “He’s been there for me in the ups and downs of my life, personally. He’s just loyal and I want to be there for him. He’s just a legend, and I don’t want his reputation smeared because he’s worked really hard to just give all of us such a great life. He really cares about other people.”
Earhardt’s Fox News colleague Elisabeth Hasselbeck affirmed the Fox & Friends host’s positive experiences with Ailes.
In a statement released to PEOPLE on Tuesday, she said: “Speaking from my personal experience, working for Roger Ailes and with Steve Doocy and Brian Kilmeade was by far the most rewarding time in my 16-year broadcasting career because Roger, Steve and Brian consistently treated me with overwhelming respect, and pure-hearted kindness, for which I am forever thankful.”
On Saturday, six more women – four who remain anonymous – came forward accusing Ailes, 76, with similar claims of sexual harassment.
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.”
In response, Carlson’s lawyers Nancy Erika Smith and Martin Hyman released a statement, which in part said, “Women have the right to speak out – whether Ailes likes it or not – even about trauma they endured years ago and that haunts them to this day. Calling these women liars because they chose to speak out is despicable. Bullying and threats will not silence these brave women.”
Earhardt, meanwhile, says her own experience working for Ailes at Fox News has been nothing but “bliss and joy,” counter to Carlson’s allegations that in part claimed that Ailes “sabotaged her career because she refused sexual advances and complained about severe and pervasive sexual harassment.”
She says, “[Roger] has never, ever, in my experience, ever told me what I can say, what I can’t say, what I can wear, what I can do. I choose the way I dress because I think it’s pretty. That’s a choice that we have.”
She added, “I love the work environment here. I love Fox News. I’m raising a daughter and as a woman, I would be proud of my daughter if she worked at Fox News.”
Earhardt, who has been working at Fox since 2007, recalls an instance in which Ailes was especially generous in impacting one employee’s life.
“We have a makeup artist who was working in the cleaning service at Fox,” she recalls. “And he looked at her while she was emptying his trash in his office and they started talking. I mean, who does that – a CEO of a major corporation? He’s talking to her and says, ‘What are your goals, what are you dreams?’ She said, ‘I’ve always wanted to be a makeup artist.’ He said, ‘Really? Well I’d love to give you that opportunity. Why don’t I send you to one of the best makeup schools in the city, or in the country?’ And he did. He paid her way, and now she’s supporting her family. She’s one of my makeup artists. Roger has a heart for other people.”