Ex-Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson: We’re fooling ourselves to think we’ve come so far

Fox News Channel Host Gretchen Carlson.
Getty Images
Fox News Channel Host Gretchen Carlson.

As Fox News finds itself embroiled in another high-profile sexual harassment scandal, journalist Gretchen Carlson stressed the drawbacks of secret forced arbitration clauses in employee contracts.

"We're fooling our culture to think we've come so far," she told the Women in the World conference on Thursday in New York City.

Due to these arbitration clauses, which Carlson described as "pervasive," many sexual harassment claims stay under wraps.

Since settling her sexual harassment lawsuit against former Fox News CEO Roger Ailes for $20 million, Carlson has been a staunch advocate of ending sexual harassment in the workplace and abolishing these arbitration clauses. Ailes resigned from Fox in the wake of her lawsuit. Ailes has denied the allegations.

"This should not be a political issue," she said. "This should be something that every single person cares about."

Carlson's comments come as Fox News faces a new wave of backlash after a New York Times article reported the network had settled with five women who had made harassment claims against Bill O'Reilly, who anchors Fox's "The O'Reilly Factor." The news has sparked more than 30 companies to cancel their ads on the show.

Fox did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Carlson also stressed the need to reach out to men to help in ending sexual harassment in the workplace.

"In 2017, every damn woman still has a story and we have to change that," she said.