Former Fox News Correspondent Recalls Working for Roger Ailes: 'Your Skirt Should Be a Little Shorter'

Back in 2000, when Alisyn Camerota was a national correspondent for Fox News based in Boston, she entered Roger Ailes's office ready to state her case for a promotion. Instead, she found herself doing a twirl so that Ailes could assess her physique.

The interaction was the first of many fraught meetings between Camerota and Ailes detailed in Camerota's in-depth account of their meetings for Vanity Fair. Camerota's reflection on the rocky period of her career under Ailes's thumb coincided with the Friday release of the new film Bombshell, a semi-fictionalized account of the hostile work environment multiple women encountered at Fox News under Ailes' leadership in the early 2000s. Camerota provided some consulting for the film.

"I like this little number you're wearing," Ailes told Camerota at that meeting, according to her memory of the interaction. He then asked her to "give me a spin. Let me look at you." As Camerota complied, Ailes looked her over and concluded that her legs were "too white," while also saying "your skirt should be a little shorter."

In her account, Ailes (who died in 2017) promised Camerota stardom on the condition that she play by his rules. In exchange for a spot as a news anchor, "Roger replied that we'd have to get to know each other better," something best done "somewhere off-site, like, say, a hotel," she wrote.

Sharing her story proved just how common experiences of harassment like hers are, according to Camerota. "I would say that my experience, while unique in its own way, is also the universal experience of anyone who's lived through a toxic workplace. I'm hearing from men and women today who can relate," Camerota, who now co-anchors CNN's New Day, said in a statement obtained by Newsweek.

Camerota's Vanity Fair piece has also coincided with the start of what could be a second phase of the #MeToo movement, as women have begun speaking out on the secondary trauma caused by companies' handling of their harassment and gender discrimination complaints. Complaints, when addressed at all, have frequently involved nondisclosure agreements and forced arbitration, legal mechanisms designed to avoid public embarrassment to corporations or the accused parties.

Two other targets of Ailes', Gretchen Carlson—whom, Camerota wrote, Ailes wanted her to "kill" in the ratings—and Julie Roginsky on Tuesday launched Lift Our Voices, an advocacy organization dedicated to ending the use of nondisclosure agreements in cases of harassment.

Carlson and Roginsky are both represented in Bombshell, but have been prevented by their nondisclosure agreements from discussing the specifics of their cases—including whether the film tells their story accurately.

Alisyn camerota
Journalist and author Alisyn Camerota attends Build to discuss her new book 'Amanda Wakes Up' at Build Studio on July 25, 2017 in New York City. Camerota shared detailed recollections of her time working under Roger Ailes in a piece published Friday in 'Vanity Fair' Desiree Navarro/WireImage