Roger Ailes, Disgraced Fox News CEO, Is Dead

Roger Ailes, who created Fox News and its partisan format before his 2016 ouster, has died at 77.

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May 18, 2017 at 9:03 AM ET

Roger Ailes, who created Fox News and its partisan format that would shape American politics, has died at 77.

“I am profoundly sad and heartbroken to report that my husband, Roger Ailes, passed away this morning,” Elizabeth Ailes said in a statement first reported by the Drudge Report. “Roger was a loving husband to me, to his son Zachary, and a loyal friend to many. He was also a patriot, profoundly grateful to live in a country that gave him so much opportunity to work hard, to rise—and to give back. During a career that stretched over more than five decades, his work in entertainment, in politics, and in news affected the lives of many millions. And so even as we mourn his death, we celebrate his life.”

Ailes worked in television production and on Republican campaigns throughout his life before settling in at Fox News, which he built into a ratings juggernaut that often dictated the Republican agenda.

But his legacy was marred when several women came forward in 2016 and accused him of sexual harassment. He was ultimately forced out in July 2016 with a rumored $40 million compensation — twice as much as Fox News would pay former anchor Gretchen Carlson to settle her sexual harassment claim against him.

On Thursday, the tributes poured in from conservative media giants, including Fox News anchors Sean Hannity and Lou Dobbs, and Matt Drudge of “The Drudge Report.”

While those pundits in conservative circles praised him, others stayed away from praise, focusing on the alleged culture of sexual harassment that had developed during Ailes’ time at Fox News. New York Magazine’s Gabriel Sherman, who authored “The Loudest Voice in the Room,” the definitive biography on Ailes, reported on Ailes’ death throughout Thursday. In a tweet, he offered insight into how one former Fox employee who was sexually harassed by Ailes was feeling about his death.