Ousted FOX News CEO Roger Ailes Dead at 77

Ailes built the network into a conservative cable powerhouse before stepping down as CEO amid sexual harassment allegations last year.
May 18, 2017, 1:41pm
Photo by Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images

Roger Ailes, the former FOX News CEO who was recently ousted at the network amid sexual harassment allegations, has died at age 77, Politico reports.

"I am profoundly sad and heartbroken to report that my husband, Roger Ailes, passed away this morning," Ailes's wife, Elizabeth, said in a statement. "Roger was a loving husband to me, to his son Zachary, and a loyal friend to many." She did not provide any additional details on how Ailes died.


According to Politico, news of Ailes's death was first reported on Drudge Report, and then on FOX, the network he helped build into a conservative cable powerhouse. Ailes started the network back in 1996, and it quickly became an influential voice in the media landscape, particularly during former President Bill Clinton's sex scandal, the Washington Post reports.

But in 2016, Ailes faced a sexual harassment scandal of his own. Gretchen Carlson, a FOX News anchor, accused Ailes of ruining her career after she had turned down his advances. After she filed a lawsuit, 25 additional women—including Megyn Kelly—came forward alleging that they had faced sexual harassment at the hands of Ailes while at the network and in the industry. Those allegations prompted Ailes to step down in July.

Still, major players in the conservative media remained loyal to Ailes despite the allegations. Many of them took to Twitter Thursday to offer their condolences.

"During a career that stretched over more than five decades, his work in entertainment, in politics, and in news affected the lives of many millions," Elizabeth Ailes said in a statement. "And so even as we mourn his death, we celebrate his life."