clock menu more-arrow no yes

Roger Ailes has stepped down from Fox News, and Rupert Murdoch is replacing him as ‘acting CEO’

He’s leaving the company after 20 years.

Media Reports Say Roger Ailes Negotiating Departure Terms At Fox News
Roger Ailes leaving the News Corp building in New York on July 19
Drew Angerer / Getty

Roger Ailes, the longtime chief of Fox News, has stepped down from the conservative cable news network.

In a statement sent out late Thursday afternoon, 21st Century Fox said that Rupert Murdoch (who owns Fox) “will assume the role of Chairman and acting CEO” at Fox News and Fox Business.

Ailes and the network were placed under great pressure over the last week, after ex-Fox anchor Gretchen Carlson filed a lawsuit against Ailes and Fox, alleging sexual harassment. Multiple reports, most of them from New York Magazine’s Gabriel Sherman, said that internal investigators interviewed other women (including Fox star Megyn Kelly) who shared stories similar to Carlson’s.

Sources tell Recode that James Murdoch, one of Rupert’s sons (the other is Lachlan) and a primary rival of Ailes, was the person who helped push Ailes out the door. Earlier this week, the ruling Murdoch family members decided collectively that Ailes had to go. The only thing in question was whether he should leave before or after the Republican National Convention, which ends later tonight.

Getting rid of Ailes gives James a chance to find a new leader who can remake the network to appeal to younger viewers. Despite Ailes's talent at making it a cash cow — Fox News reaps about $1 billion in profit — the average age of Fox News' primetime viewer is 68, a demographic that has little value to advertisers.

The Drudge Report, which first broke the news of Ailes’s resignation, also says that Ailes will be staying on as an adviser to the company until 2018. Drudge also obtained a goodbye letter from Ailes to Murdoch in which he says he’s leaving because he “will not allow my presence to become a distraction” from Fox’s work.

On Twitter, 21st Century Fox took care to highlight one selection from their press release announcing Ailes’s exit:

And here’s the response from Gretchen Carlson’s legal team:

This article originally appeared on Recode.net.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for The Weeds

Get our essential policy newsletter delivered Fridays.