The recordings are likely to play a major role in legal proceedings, as Ailes’ attorneys prepare to begin discussing settlement terms with Gretchen Carlson, a former Fox News show host that sued the 76-year-old executive on July 6 for sexual harassment and workplace retaliation.
Fox News host Andrea Tantaros alleged Monday that Ailes sexually harassed her, and pulled her off the air after she refused and reported the incidents. Tantaros also states that Fox News executives were aware of the consistent harassment but did not act.
It’s being reported that the tapes may push Carlson’s settlement into the 8-figure range. Fox’s parent company, 21st Century Fox, has asked Ailes to furnish some of the funds personally. Ailes’ lawyers are arguing that per an arbitration clause in her contract, settlement talks must be private.
Susan Estrich, an attorney for Ailes, said, "[Carlson’s] attempt to game the system so as to avoid the arbitration clause for her client’s baseless allegations is contrary to law and unsupported by the facts."
An unnamed source remarked, "If they litigate the case, all the tapes will become public, directly and through others, then you will have a parade of women come in. Nobody wants that."
Ailes has repeatedly denied these and many other allegations through his legal team, and is reportedly leaving the company with a $40 million golden parachute.