Roger Ailes, the former CEO of Fox News who was ousted when dozens of current and former female employees at Fox News accused him of systematic and continual sexual harassment, also used millions of dollars in Fox News revenues to fund “Black Room” operations that involved private investigators and political operatives who tried to dig up dirt on those that dared complain about Ailes’ unwanted advances.
Gabriel Sherman of New York magazine is reporting today that an internal investigation is now taking place at Fox looking to find out exactly how Ailes spent millions of dollars to settle sexual harassment lawsuits with virtually no oversight.
The payments, Sherman reports, included employing private investigators such as Fox News contributor Bo Dietl, a former New York city police officer who is known to be sympathetic to dirty cops who harass or shoot suspects and then claim self-defense.
Sources who spoke to Sherman told him that Ailes had unquestioned authority to spend millions of Fox News profits on whatever he saw fit with no oversight or accounting procedures in place. One Fox executive said:
“It was the culture. You didn’t ask questions, and Roger wouldn’t entertain questions.”
Another executive said any money spent by Ailes was later dismissed as “rounding error.”
Sherman also reports that Ailes set up a “Black Room” command center on the 14th floor of the News Corp building, where operatives he hired conducted research and surveillance campaigns against his perceived enemies inside and outside the company, including reporters from other news outlets who wrote stories about Ailes and his alleged harassment of female employees such as former host Gretchen Carlson.
The report in New York magazine also alleges that Fox News CFO Mark Kranz approved budget expenditures, and that general counsel Dianne Brandi approved all contracts. Yet both now claim they were unaware of any “Black Room” operation at Fox News.
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