Former Fox News host Gretchen Carlson, who in 2016 helped publicize Roger Ailes’ alleged pattern of sexual misconduct when she sued the network’s former chairman, says it’s frustrating that she’s unable to participate in TV and film adaptations of stories based on her life. But what’s most important, she said, is the “big picture” with Showtime series “The Loudest Voice” and now the forthcoming film “Bombshell” — advancing the public conversation around harassment. (Via Entertainment Weekly)
Carlson sued her former boss for sexual harassment in 2016 after leaving Fox, a legal action that preceded scores of women coming forward alleging that Ailes, who founded the conservative network, had harassed them too. Ailes settled with Carlson for $20 million and resigned from his post.
Carlson reacted to the tense “Bombshell” teaser in a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly.
“It’s a strange and frustrating reality that I can’t partake in any of these projects based on my settlement, which is why I’m working so hard on Capitol Hill so that nobody else has to be handcuffed anymore. And I’m trying to pass the bill to take the muzzle off of women who face harassment in the workplace so that they’re not forced into signing NDAs and have to go to the secret chamber of arbitration where nobody ever knows what the hell happened to them. It’s frustrating cause I can say, ‘Hey wait a minute, you know, that was my life!'” Carlson said.
“Bombshell” was shown in public for the first time Sunday to industry and media members and was followed by a post-screening Q&A that included Nicole Kidman, who portrays Carlson in the film, Charlize Theron, who plays former Fox host Megyn Kelly, director Jay Roach, screenwriter Charles Randolph, and Margot Robbie, whose character is a composite based on interviews with Fox staffers who allege they were harassed by Ailes.
Theron said she and Roach frequently discussed how important it was to get to the “greater truth” of the matter, but they didn’t say who exactly they interviewed in researching the movie. Roach said it was important to protect the people who spoke with them.
The fact that Carlson’s settlement with Ailes restricted what she could say publicly was addressed in the film: Her lawyers explained that she essentially would be unable to speak about the topic.
The real-life Carlson said she’s at peace with that.
“In the end, I can’t participate, but it’s all about continuing the dialogue. And if projects like this and the Showtime miniseries keeps people in our society talking about this issue, then that is amazing. And most importantly, if it gives courage to men and women who are facing these kinds of situations to come forward, then that’s the extra bonus. I really feel like nobody would have done these movies three years ago when I jumped off the cliff all by myself in July of 2016. The idea now that Naomi (Watts) and Nicole have been portraying my character is surreal,” she said.
Watts plays Carlson in “The Loudest Voice,” based on the book “The Loudest Voice in the Room” by Gabriel Sherman.