An Ex-Fox News Booker that was paid millions of dollars to remain quiet has decided not to do so and her story is the most damaging yet to former Fox News CEO Roger Ailes.
Gabriel Sherman writes for NY Mag that Laurie Luhn, an ex Fox News employee told the lawyers at Paul, Weiss that she had been harassed by Ailes for more than 20 years. She claimed that executives at Fox News had known about it and helped cover it up, and that it had ruined her life. “It was psychological torture,” she said.
At her peak, Luhn says she earned $250,000 a year as an event planner at Fox while, according to both her own account and four confirming sources, enjoying Ailes’s protection within the company. But the arrangement required her to do many things she is now horrified by, including luring young female Fox employees into one-on-one situations with Ailes that Luhn knew could result in harassment. “He’s a predator,” she told Sherman. In recent years, Luhn had a series of mental breakdowns that she attributes to the stress of her situation, and was even hospitalized for a time.
The article reports that on the night of January 16, 1991, Ailes was in Washington to prep George H.W. Bush on his Oval Office address to announce the start of the first Gulf War. Ailes and Luhn again met for dinner. According to Luhn, he asked her to go home, watch the speech, and then meet him at the Crystal City Marriott, where he had a suite. By this point, Luhn understood what Ailes expected of her, but she went with him anyway.
She recalled that, when she walked into the hotel room, Ailes asked her what she thought of Bush’s speech. “I was always very complimentary,” she told me. “I wanted to learn how to do all that. I wanted to learn how to do the ads, how to do the coaching. I wanted to learn how to work with candidates.”
Luhn put on the black garter and stockings she said Ailes had instructed her to buy; he called it her uniform. Ailes sat on a couch. “Go over there. Dance for me,” she recalled him saying. She hesitated. “Laurie, if you're gonna be my girl, my eyes and ears, if you are going to be someone I can depend on in Washington, my spy, come on, dance for me,” he said, according to her account. When she started dancing, Ailes got out a video camera. Luhn didn’t want to be filmed, she said, but Ailes was insistent: “I am gonna need you to do better than that.”
When she had finished dancing, Ailes told her to get down on her knees in front of him, she said, and put his hands on her temples. As she recalled, he began speaking to her slowly and authoritatively, as if he were some kind of Svengali: “Tell me you will do what I tell you to do, when I tell you to do it. At any time, at any place when I call. No matter where I call you, no matter where you are. Do you understand? You will follow orders. If I tell you to put on your uniform, what are you gonna do, Laurie? WHAT ARE YOU GONNA DO, LAURIE?” Then, she recalled, his voice dropped to a whisper: “What are you, Laurie? Are you Roger's whore? Are you Roger's spy? Come over here.” Ailes asked her to perform oral sex, she said.
Later, Ailes showed her the footage of her dancing. She asked him what he intended to do with it and, she says, he replied, “I am going to put it in a safe-deposit box just so we understand each other.”
After that, Luhn said, she regularly met Ailes in hotels for sexual encounters. He asked her to buy a boom box so she could bring music to dance to. Ailes always left cash for her. A couple of times, while he was advising French politician Jacques Chirac, he gave her francs. “I remember I had to go exchange the money,” Luhn said.
The article goes on to report that Bill Shine, who many think will replace Ailes play a big part in this relationship.