Multiple women broke their non-disclosure agreements with Fox’s parent companies to tell their stories of sexual harassment (and worse) at the network, and now some of them are coming forward to shed light on that decision.
Breaking the NDAs exposed the women to potential litigation from the company, but ultimately they felt it was more important to expose the toxic atmosphere that filled Fox’s workplace, according to a new report in The Hollywood Reporter.
The women spoke to various people involved with the movie “Bombshell,” which details Fox’s workplace under network head Roger Ailes, a workplace allegedly filled with sexual harassment and worse. The upcoming film stars Charlize Theron (as Megyn Kelly) and Nicole Kidman and documents the series of events at Fox News that led to Gretchen Carlson filing a lawsuit that resulted in the axing of Ailes.
Rudi Bakhtiar was terminated as a correspondent by Fox in 2007. She says that happened after she complained about sexual harassment. “The movie has been very cathartic,” Bakhtiar told The Hollywood Reporter about why she broke her NDA, “I didn’t want to admit to myself how angry I am about what happened. The movie meant that I had to face this.”
Juliette Huddy, a former Fox news anchor who leveled sexual harassment claims and signed an NDA, said she had nothing to lose by talking to filmmakers. Even though she received six figures when leaving the company she says: “I lost my house. My television career combusted, and I couldn’t get a job for over a year.So come after me. I don’t have anything.”
NBCUniversal’s recently announced that it would release employees who signed nondisclosure agreements relating to sexual harassment. It’s unclear if women who have already broken the NDAs will be legally pursued by the company.
Filmmakers spoke to dozens of people connected to the Carlson incident, including several women bound by NDAs, to gain information on the events leading up to and following Ailes firing.
Julie Roginsky, who claimed she was overlooked for a co-hosting job after turning down Ailes’ sexual advances, is of many former fox News employees frustrated by her binding agreement. She was not contacted by “Bombshell” filmmakers and felt they had acted unfairly in doing so.
“Nobody reached out to me about this movie, but if they had, I would not have been able to talk to them because I have an NDA,” she said. “That allows the moviemakers to take license with our stories. It is frustrating that other people have taken advantage of my silence by creating a character.”
Fox says it has cleaned up its act since the mess Ailes and pals left behind, claiming: “Since the 2016 departure of Roger Ailes, Fox News has worked tirelessly to completely change the company culture.”