Former Fox News host Gretchen Carlson, who left the network amid allegations of sexual harassment against former network chairman and CEO Roger Ailes, has revealed she will testify before Congress on forced arbitration, a common TV contract clause that legally binds parties to settle resolutions outside of the court system.
Carlson, who didn’t have her contract renewed in June by the network, sued Ailes for sexual harassment shortly thereafter on July 5. Ailes resigned just two weeks after the suit was filed, and an internal investigation was launched.
Carlson eventually settled the suit in September for $20 million.
“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 magazine for a cover story published Friday. “The intent of the Supreme Court when they ruled on arbitration was to unclog the courts. It was not to put issues of discrimination and harassment into covert operations.”
When Carlson sued Ailes, her legal team didn’t include Fox News as a defendant to avoid the forced arbitration designation in her contract. Ailes’s team argued at the time that Carlson had “no legal basis upon which she can rightfully assert that she was entitled to sue Defendant Ailes in court and sully his reputation in public.”
“I think this is happening every single day to women in all walks of life and in all different types of corporations,” Carlson, a former Miss America, says in the interview. “I’ve heard from so many women, from Wall Street to a tiny little town in Alabama. It’s everywhere.”
Carlson’s testimony will be taken regarding anti-forced arbitration laws sponsored by Democratic Sens. Patrick Leahy (Vt.) and Al Franken (Minn.).