Roger Ailes, the former president of Fox News who was forced out of that position in 2016 due to multiple sexual harassment allegations, has died at the age of 77.
The Drudge Report was the first to report the story, sharing a statement from his wife, Elizabeth Ailes.
Both Fox News and CNN later confirmed Ailes’ death.
Ailes’ television career spanned over 50 years and he also served as an advisor to presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, assisting both in election and re-election campaigns. Ailes was also close with current president Donald Trump, though the two reportedly had a falling out late in the 2016 campaign.
In 1996, he was appointed CEO of Fox News by the network’s founder, Rupert Murdoch.
Whatever your thoughts on him Roger Ailes was the single most influential political-media figure of our times
— jimrutenberg (@jimrutenberg) May 18, 2017
But 20 years later, Ailes was forced out after multiple allegations of sexual harassment came to light. Ailes would later settle those lawsuits, including one for $20 million with former anchor Gretchen Carlson, to whom Fox News also issued an apology.
Then, in November 2016, several months after Ailes’ departure, now-departed Fox News star Megyn Kelly outlined in her memoir how Ailes had sexually harassed her during her time there, though she didn’t come forward with the allegations until Ailes’ ouster.
But even after his departure, Ailes’ effect on Fox News was still being felt. On Monday, which happened to be Ailes’ 77th birthday, Politico reported that the ongoing federal investigation at Fox News uncovered allegations that Ailes used both Steve Bannon, currently serving Trump in the White House, and Roger Stone, another occasional Trump advisor, to help Ailes target some of his enemies.
For better or worse & the ignominious end 2 his reign at Fox News, the impact of Roger Ailes on American politics & media was indisputable.
— David Axelrod (@davidaxelrod) May 18, 2017
Despite the controversy that followed Ailes in his last months, he was still being remembered Thursday morning by his supporters and critics as a man who changed both the political and media landscape.