In early July, after the Fox News host Gretchen Carlson had filed a sexual-harassment lawsuit against Roger Ailes, the network’s chairman, but before a number of other women said that they, too, had been harassed by him—and long before reports emerged that Ailes was negotiating an exit under pressure—Fox resorted to a familiar tactic in such cases. It made available to the press notes that Carlson had written to Ailes after the alleged incidents had taken place. The notes were handwritten, and in one case included a smiley face. They read like the communications of an ambitious person trying to ingratiate herself with a powerful boss she knows has soured on her. “Thank you for offering me the opportunity to host the West Point Choir Christmas Special,” she wrote on November 11, 2015. “Maybe for the next Fox debates, you could incorporate my experience, smarts and wit—on stage—or doing the FoxNews.com analysis after. I know I wouldn’t let you down.” In other notes, Carlson, a Stanford graduate and former Miss America, talks about what a hard worker and a loyal employee she has been, cites her ideas for prime-time specials and her desire to substitute for the Fox anchors Megyn Kelly and Greta Van Susteren, and mentions she has been invited by a member of Congress to speak “at a conference of inspirational women.” She’s leaning in, but it’s too late. The West Point Choir special is not a good sign.
Dredging up evidence of continued contact between a harasser and his accuser is a common maneuver—going back at least to the Clarence Thomas hearings, when his defenders pointed out that Anita Hill had followed Thomas, her boss, from the Department of Education to the Equal Employment Opportunity Co...
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