Fox News commentator is latest to accuse Roger Ailes of sexual harassment

Amanda Holpuch in New York
Julie Roginsky, left, appears on The Five television program in 2015. She has accused Roger Ailes of sexual harassment, joining more than 20 other women who have done so. Photograph: AP

A Fox News Channel commentator on Monday filed a lawsuit accusing the network’s former chairman, Roger Ailes, of sexual harassment.

The political commentator Julie Roginsky, who currently contributes to Fox News, said Ailes made sexual advances towards her and penalized her for rebuffing his advances, according to the lawsuit.

Roginsky said in the complaint that Ailes’s advances included requiring that she “bend down to kiss him hello” in private meetings and saying he would take her out for a drink “if it wouldn’t get us both into so much trouble”.

Ailes was forced out of Fox News in July 2016 amid a sexual harassment scandal.

More than 20 women, including the former Fox News journalists Megyn Kelly and Laurie Dhue, have also filed sexual harassment complaints against Ailes. He has denied all allegations of sexual harassment.

Susan Estrich, an attorney for Ailes, told the New York Times that he “vociferously denies” the allegations made in Roginsky’s suit.

“Her interactions with Mr Ailes were not even close to the fictional version she wants people to believe now,” Estrich said in a statement.

Fox News did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Roginsky said in the suit that she was punished for not disparaging the former Fox News host Gretchen Carlson after she filed a sexual harassment suit against Ailes.

She said she had discussed these concerns in meetings with network executives, including Bill Shine, the network’s co-president. The meetings took place in November 2016, after Ailes’s departure, according to the suit.

“We look forward to a public trial in front of a jury in New York City,” said Roginsky’s attorney, Nancy Erika Smith, in a statement.

The suit comes days after a New York Times investigation showed Fox News and a network host, Bill O’Reilly, had paid about $13m in settlements to five women who accused the anchor of sexual harassment or verbal abuse.

O’Reilly suggested he had been targeted by people who sought to harm him and Fox News.

“Those of us in the arena are constantly at risk, as are our families and children,” he said. “My primary efforts will continue to be to put forth an honest TV program and to protect those close to me.”

On Monday, Mercedes announced it would stop advertising on the O’Reilly Factor.

In a statement provided to CNNMoney, a spokesperson for the company said the allegations against O’Reilly were “disturbing.”

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