Fox News founder and former chief Roger Ailes reported dead

Roger Ailes was the founder and chief at Fox News

Founder and former chairman of Fox News Roger Ailes, who resigned the channel last year after becoming embroiled in a sexual harassment lawsuit, has been reported dead by his family.

A statement from his wife Elizabeth Ailes to US media said she was "profoundly sad and heartbroken" to report his passing this morning, calling him a "loyal friend" and a "patriot".

Ailes founded Fox News in 1996 and built the channel to become a ratings hit and a hugely influential voice in right-wing US politics.

He acted as chairman and CEO of the channel till last year, when he resigned after a suit was brought against him by former Fox anchor Gretchen Carlson.

Carlson claimed that she was unfairly dismissed from her high profile role on the network after refusing sexual advances from Ailes.

Shortly after Carlson made the allegations against Ailes, Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly reportedly told investigators she experienced similar sexual harassment from Ailes. Carlson’s legal team said more than 20 women came forward accusing Ailes of sexual harassment in the weeks following her public calling out of the Fox boss.

Carlson settled with 21st Century Fox, the network's parent company, for $20m.

Media mogul Rupert Murdoch, who took over as chairman of Fox News when Ailes stepped down in July, said parent company 21st Century Fox "will always be enormously grateful for the great business he built".

"A brilliant broadcaster, Roger played a huge role in shaping America’s media over the last thirty years. He will be remembered by the many people on both sides of the camera that he discovered, nurtured and promoted," Murdoch wrote.

"Roger and I shared a big idea which he executed in a way no one else could have. In addition, Roger was a great patriot who never ceased fighting for his beliefs."

News of Ailes' passing has been met with mixed reception due to the accusations brought against him in recent years.

Aaron Kwittken, founder and chief executive of public relations agency Kwittken & Company, said: "Whether you liked his politics or not, Ailes was an undeniable and polarizing force in in shaping our political and media landscape for the past few decades. It’s a shame that his life had to end on a low note marred by scandal."

Get the Newsletter

Keep up to date with the latest news and insights.

Subscribe

Jessica Goodfellow

The Drum's media reporter covering everything from publishing, TV, social media, radio and technology.

All by Jessica