After filing a sexual harassment lawsuit against her boss and former Fox News CEO Roger Ailes in July, Gretchen Carlson has settled with the media company. Carlson, a former Fox News anchor, received a $20 million settlement from 21st Century Fox Corporation, according to The New York Times. But perhaps more powerful than money is the message this sends to women everywhere.
Both parties released statements on the settlement, with 50-year-old Carlson thanking those who supported her and a promise to "redouble [her] efforts to to empower women in the workplace." Here's her entire statement.
"I am gratified that 21st Century Fox took decisive action after I filed my complaint. I'm ready to move on to the next chapter of my life in which I will redouble my efforts to empower women in the workplace. I want to thank all the brave women who came forward to tell their own stories and the many people across the country who embraced and supported me in their #StandWithGretchen. All women deserve a dignified and respectful workplace."
Ailes's inappropriate behavior reportedly began when Carlson first joined the network in 2005, with him commenting on her legs and telling her to wear tight-fitting clothes. Ultimately, Carlson's recorded conversations with 76-year-old Ailes led to his resignation two weeks after Carlson filed her lawsuit, according to New York Magazine. During one meeting, Ailes allegedly told Carlson, "I think you and I should have had a sexual relationship a long time ago, and then you'd be good and better and I'd be good and better."
Carlson meticulously planned her fight against Ailes; she started recording these conversations in 2014. Although the battle was a slow process, Carlson's victory is an example to women who might be suffering the same abuse from a boss or manager. (Other female Fox employees have reportedly since come forward with accusations against Ailes.)
In an atypical move, Fox also released a statement apologizing to Carlson, saying, "We sincerely regret and apologize for the fact that Gretchen was not treated with the respect and dignity that she and all of our colleagues deserve."
While the arrangement between Carlson and Fox is important, it's also worth noting that Ailes was reportedly paid $40 million to leave the company without incident, as journalist Judd Legum pointed out on Twitter.
$40 million: Amount Roger Ailes got for harassing Gretchen Carlson, being forced out— Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) September 6, 2016
$20 million: Amount Carlson got for being harassed
Working women still evidently have a long way to go before they're treated fairly in the workplace, but both Fox's apology and Carlson's statement play a significant role in acknowledging that women who suffer from sexual harassment can take on powerful men like Ailes and win. This will hopefully also encourage other women who find themselves in similar situations to speak up.