CREDIT: Bryce Covert/AP

A chorus of current Fox employees have spoken out against Gretchen Carlson for bringing her sexual harassment lawsuit against Roger Ailes, including a number of high-profile men who argue that because they themselves were never harassed and never witnessed harassment, it couldn’t have happened.

In a lengthy essay for Business Insider, Fox Business host Neil Cavuto wrote of the harassment Carlson has alleged, “I’ve never seen it. I’ve never witnessed it. Not even hints of it.”

He noted that he’s known Ailes for “about a quarter-century…so I think I’m a pretty good judge of character,” saying that “all this stuff I’ve been reading about Roger is a lot of clutter and a lot of nonsense. None of it remotely matches the man I’ve come to know over these last decades.” He said that “Roger was and is ALL professional” in all of the meetings he’s ever been with him in. “[T]hese accusations that don’t remotely resemble the Roger that I know…that WE know…are just…sick,” he concluded.

The same sort of defense was offered by Fox News host Bret Baier. “It’s not the Roger I know,” he told The Daily Beast, responding to the harassment allegations. “The Roger I know is somebody who has always been amazing to me and my family…so it’s not familiar to me… I can’t say enough good about Roger, and any other thoughts are foreign to me.”

And Geraldo Rivera, Fox News talkshow host, tweeted his defense by saying Ailes is “about as flirty as the grizzly in #TheRevenant.”

 

Whether these men were themselves harassed by Ailes or witnessed him harassing other employees has no bearing on what happened to Carlson, of course. In both her own lawsuit and the testimony of other women who have spoken up about harassment they say they received from Ailes, they nearly all described it as taking place in his office or another private area where it was just the two of them. No one else — other male or female coworkers — would have known it happened. Many harassers do this purposefully so as to avoid being caught and to make any allegations a “he said she said” situation that would pit their word against their victims’.

And it’s not surprising that Carlson wouldn’t have told her coworkers or spoken up for some time. The vast majority of harassment victims don’t do anything about it for fear of retaliation. That fear has already played on in Carlson’s case: she claims she was fired for complaining to Ailes about other harassment, and now is being publicly ridiculed by her former coworkers. Other women who have claimed to be harassed by Ailes say that he not only didn’t work with them when they rebuffed him, but blocked them from working with people he knew.

The number of prominent voices at Fox speaking out against Carlson has continued to rise steadily since she filed her lawsuit. Female hosts Greta Van Susteren, Maria Bartiromo, Jeanine Pirro, Kiran Chetry, Kimberly Guilfoyle, Martha MacCallum, and Sandra Smith have all cast doubt on Carlson’s accusations by saying they themselves were never harassed by Ailes. Plenty of others have spoken up to defend Ailes or impugn Carlson’s decision to bring the lawsuit.