Roger Ailes, the disgraced ex-Fox News chairman and CEO who transformed the network into a powerful mouthpiece for the right, has died. “I am profoundly sad and heartbroken to report that my husband, Roger Ailes, passed away this morning,” his wife, Elizabeth, said in a statement, according to CNN. “Roger was a loving husband to me, to his son Zachary, and a loyal friend to many. He was also a patriot, profoundly grateful to live in a country that gave him so much opportunity to work hard, to rise — and to give back.”
Ailes was ousted from the network last summer over charges of sexual harassment, but went on to advise Donald Trump for the presidential debates. His departure came after Gretchen Carlson, a former Fox anchor, sued him on charges of sexual harassment, and then other women came forward to support her claims, notes CNN. “Carlson settled with 21st Century Fox, the network’s parent company, for $20 million,” noting there had been at least six instances when Ailes talked about her body, intimidated her or used demeaning language, the report says. Ailes denied wrongdoing.
Before founding the network from scratch in 1996, Ailes worked as a political strategist, including serving as a top advisor to the Richard M. Nixon presidential campaign in 1968. In 1970, Ailes wrote, A Plan for Putting the GOP on TV News, a 300-page memo that sowed the seeds for his future enterprise.