Fox News star Megyn Kelly has unveiled explosive new charges against the network's founder, Roger Ailes, claiming the disgraced 76-year-old executive tried to sexually assault her in his New York office and hinted she would be fired when she "pushed him away."
RadarOnline.com can reveal that the 45-year-old anchor's bombshell account was added at the last minute to her long-planned memoir, Settle For More. Her publisher, HarperCollins is owned by the same media conglomerate as Fox, the company Ailes left in July after former Fox host Gretchen Carlson became the first of several women to accuse him of sexual harassment.
Kelly — who is in the final months of a $15-million-a-year contract with the network — claims in the book that when Carlson first filed her complaint, Ailes commenced an "intense campaign" to get her and other stars to speak in his defense.
"I was approached several times, and several times I refused," she claims in the book, obtained by Radar.
She insists, however, "There was no way I was going to lie to protect him."
Ailes vehemently has denied any misconduct. But Kelly claims in the book that he started to harass her, too, in the summer of 2005, a few months after she was hired as a legal correspondent in Fox's Washington bureau.
She writes that she was informed by her managing editor that she'd "captured the attention of Mr. Ailes" and she was summoned to the first of a series of meetings in his Manhattan office.
"Roger began pushing the limits," she alleges. "There was a pattern to his behavior. I would be called into Roger's office, he would shut the door, and over the next hour or two, he would engage in a kind of cat-and-mouse game with me — veering between obviously inappropriate sexually charged comments (e.g. about the 'very sexy bras' I must have and how he'd like to see me in them) and legitimate professional advice."
He offered to advance her career "in exchange for sexual favors," she writes, and even though she says she rejected "every single one," she claims he tried "physical advances."
But in January 2006, she claims, he "crossed a new line — trying to grab me repeatedly and kiss me on the lips." When she shoved him away, she alleges, "he asked me an ominous question: 'When is your contract up?' And then, for the third time, he tried to kiss me."
The harassment ended after six months, possibly because she reported him to a supervisor, Kelly writes. But when Carlson and the other women began to come forward this year, Kelly said she decided the time had come to speak up.
"Crossing him was a major risk," she writes in the book, "but what if — God forbid — he was still doing it to someone?"
So, Kelly made a call, she says, to the co-chairman of Fox's parent 21st Century Fox company, Lachlan Murdoch, and told him and the firm's general counsel about her long-ago nightmare.
Attorneys for Ailes did not immediately respond to Radar's request for comment.
Days later, the company announced it had hired an outside law firm, Paul Weiss, to investigate Ailes. Kelly says she cooperated with them, stressing that though she rebuffed all of his advances, he never went through with his implied threat of revenge. Instead, he promoted her. Now one of the highest paid women in TV, she reportedly is seeking a raise to $20 million a year when her contract renews. As for Ailes, Fox reportedly gave him a $40 million payoff.
Settle for More is due out on November 15. Story developing.
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