Rich Polk—Getty Images for Variety
News

Gretchen Carlson Says Men Need to Join the Fight to End Sexual Harassment

Nov. 14, 2016

'Women shouldn't be expected to solve this issue alone'

Gretchen Carlson, who sparked a conversation about sexual harassment in the workplace after filing a lawsuit against her former boss, former Fox News CEO Roger Ailes, called on men to join her fight to end sexual harassment in the workplace in an op-ed for the New York Times.

After being terminated from her job as an anchor at Fox News, Carlson filed a lawsuit against Ailes in July, alleging that he had sexually harassed her throughout her career at the cable network. Fox News’ parent company, 21st Century Fox, subsequently opened an investigation into Ailes and more women came forward to accuse Ailes of harassment. In July, Ailes resigned from the network. In September, Carlson settled with Fox News — even though her lawsuit was filed solely against Ailes — for $20 million. Ailes has denied all allegations of sexual harassment.

Since settling her lawsuit, Carlson has spoken publicly about her dedication to fighting sexual harassment. She told TIME last month that she plans to testify before Congress about forced arbitration clauses, which make it difficult for employees to fight sexual harassment in the workplace. “It is a huge problem. Because it’s secret. And it plays into why we think that we’ve come so far in society and we probably really haven’t—because we don’t hear about it,” Carlson told TIME.

Read more: Gretchen Carlson’s Next Fight

In her Times op-ed, Carlson wrote that she never expected that fighting harassment would become her life’s work. “I didn’t expect to be cast in this role. But as a result of the news reports concerning my departure from Fox News, letters, emails and texts from victims of harassment have poured in to me, and I can’t turn away,” she wrote.

Carlson also addressed the frequent criticism directed at women who report sexual harassment, including why women don’t report alleged harassment as soon as it occurs and why women don’t leave their jobs if the harassment becomes unbearable.

“Here’s why women don’t come forward. We don’t want to be labeled troublemakers,” Carlson said. “We don’t want to put our careers at risk. And in the end, one of our greatest fears is that we won’t be believed. “’He said, she said’ is still a convenient phrase that equates victims with harassers. It trivializes workplace harassment and has become synonymous with ‘Don’t take that risk; they won’t believe you anyway.'”

But if it’s up to Carlson, that won’t be the norm for much longer. But she said it’s critical that both women and men join her in her fight.

“Men also need to stop enabling harassers by egging them on or covering up or excusing their bad behavior. Women shouldn’t be expected to solve this issue alone,” she wrote. “We need men to be onboard, too.

Read Carlson’s full Times op-ed here.