The Media

Report: Ailes Structured Contracts for Leverage Over Fox

Written by SK Ashby

Some Fox News talent has already departed the network and its been reported that many more could follow after the election, and it looks like Fox News may have their former chief Roger Ailes to thank for it.

Ailes reportedly inserted a "key man clause" into the contracts of the network's top on-air talent that allows them to leave the network at any time of their choosing if the "key man" is lost; the key man being Roger Ailes himself.

"Ailes asked for them. He put those in," a longtime Fox News executive said on condition of anonymity.

"I think he viewed them as a poison pill, to protect himself in case the Murdoch family ever came after him," the executive said.

Two television agents backed up this account, saying that the key man clauses originated with Ailes, not with requests from hosts.

In theory, Ailes could have threatened 21st Century Fox or held this over them as leverage. We don't know that he did that, but it would explain a few things.

It would explain why they paid Ailes $60 million to leave even though they knew he was guilty. It would also explain why they did nothing to stop him until it became far too public not to.

21st Century Fox is a publicly traded company. If more of the network's hosts depart after the election and the network loses a significant amount of value as a result, it would not be surprising to see shareholders file a lawsuit against the company. It's seems crystal clear that Ailes was enabled and allowed to do just about anything he wanted, from inserting these "key man" clauses to using the network's budget to privately investigate his own employees and critics.