The news that former Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson has sued the network’s chief executive, Roger Ailes, alleging sexual harassment, is eye-catching due to the high-profile nature of both figures. But recent research suggests the sordid story she tells is far from unique.
In a 2012 survey of women working in the Australian news media, 57.3 percent reported they “had experienced sexist remarks or gestures, or had been sexually harassed��� while on the job.
“A total of 53.3 percent said that the harassment had occurred within the past five years,” Louise North of Deakin University writes in a paper published late last year in the journal Feminist Media Studies. This suggests “sexual harassment is an ongoing, systemic problem.”
Eighty-seven percent of survey participants who had experienced harassment “chose not to report it to a superior or a grievance officer,” North adds. In many cases, this inaction was “because they fear victimization or retaliation.”
Of those who did file a formal complaint, “almost half said the matter was ignored and no further action was taken,” while 28.4 percent “noted the individual was reprimanded.”
Sadly, sexual harassment “remains a tolerated aspect of newsroom culture,” North concludes.
If proven, Carlson’s allegations suggest this is true not only in Rupert Murdoch’s home country, but also at his most famous American media property.