'Monster' Fox News Head Roger Ailes Carried a Gun at All Times, New Documentary Claims

Former Fox News chief Roger Ailes carried a gun at all times, gave employees see-through desks and was “convinced” Al Qaeda was trying to kill him, a new documentary claims.

Described in Divide and Conquer: The Story of Roger Ailes as a “monster” and “kingmaker,” the late television executive was known for his tight grip on American politics. He advised numerous Republican presidents including Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and, most recently, Donald Trump.

The media mogul’s influence on the Republican party was so significant, journalist Howard Fineman previously called him “the de facto leader of the GOP,” in an article from the Newsweek archives.

The Ohio native produced at stations including NBC-affiliated WKYC, before focusing on politics. He co-wrote a book called You Are the Message: Secrets of the Master Communicators in 1988 before returning to television in 1993, when he became president of CNBC. Rupert Murdoch appointed him CEO of Fox News three years later, turning the network into a ratings powerhouse.

Ailes resigned from Fox in 2016 after a slew of sexual harassment allegations emerged. High profile anchors including Megyn Kelly and Gretchen Carlson accused Ailes of harassment. A contributor to the new documentary suggests many more cases and subsequent settlements are likely unknown.

In the film, one former employee says Ailes gave her a “see-through desk” to work from, while another says he told her: “if you want to play with the big boys, you have to lay with the big boys.”

11_9_Roger Ailes Roger Ailes attends the Hollywood Reporter celebration of 'The 35 Most Powerful People in Media' in 2012. Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images

Prominent Fox News voices such as Bill O’Reilly have since left the network amid sexual harassment scandals. An oversight panel called the Fox News Workplace Professionalism and Inclusion Council, was instituted in the months following O’Reilly’s departure, The New York Times previously reported.

A lifelong hemophiliac, Ailes died a few days after hitting his head in 2017. His blood condition was a factor his death, which was caused by subdural hematoma. Ailes’ wife, Elizabeth, previously said she was “profoundly sad” after his death. At the time, conservative political commentator Sean Hannity tweeted, “Today America lost one of its great patriotic warriors.”

Divide and Conquer: The Story of Roger Ailes is distributed by Magnolia Pictures, known for documentaries including Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room and Jesus Camp. Divide and Conquer is slated for release in theatres and online December 7.

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