Roger Ailes’ secrets command a heavy price. Last week, the New York Times reported that Fox News had reached an out-of-court settlement with Brian Lewis, the former Roger Ailes aide who was abruptly fired in late July. A Fox News executive with knowledge of the negotiations told Gawker that Lewis was paid approximately $8 million in hush money.
“The big talk at work, especially today, is the settlement number,” the executive said on Friday, explaining that the exact figure had been filtering through the channel’s rank-and-file since early November.
The settlement came after an extraordinary, months-long confrontation during which Fox News accused Ailes’ former right-hand man of vague “financial irregularities,” and Lewis’ attorney angrily responded that Ailes had a lot to lose if Lewis ever spilled the beans on their 17-year-long partnership at the right-wing network.
It became apparent to Fox News employees that discussions had ended, the executive said, on November 5, a Tuesday. On that day, “they cleaned out [Lewis’s] office after not touching it for three months. It was becoming a museum.” Shortly after news of Lewis’s firing surfaced, Politico’s Mike Allen reported that Lewis had been exiled, in July 2012, to the 22nd floor of News Corporation’s Midtown headquarters after losing the favor of his boss, Fox News president Roger Ailes.