-- A day after Roger Ailes stepped down as chairman of Fox News amid sexual harassment allegations, the attorney behind the lawsuit that kicked off the scandal claims that Ailes’ alleged harassment goes back decades.
Ailes, who has denied the claims against him, resigned from his post at the top of Fox News yesterday weeks after former network anchorwomen Gretchen Carlson filed a lawsuit against him alleging that he “sabotaged” her career because she “refused his sexual advances” and that she was fired for rebuffing him and complaining to him about sexual harassment.
Carlson’s lawyer, Nancy Smith, told ABC News today that the lawsuit was still pending, and noted that since it was filed, several women have come forward with their own allegations.
“I’ve spoken to women in every decade since the '60s who have been harassed by Roger Ailes -- well up into the 2000s and up to 2010,” she said. “For some, it’s quite traumatic.”
The lawyer also said that her client’s position could be improved because of Ailes’ rapid exit.
“A jury could definitely draw some conclusions by Mr. Ailes’ quick departure,” she said. “Our case continues.”
Ailes, who had overseen the network since its inception two decades ago, resigned effective immediately earlier this week, saying in a letter to his boss that he would “not allow [his] presence to become a distraction from the work that must be done every day to ensure that Fox News and Fox Business continue to lead our industry.”
Ailes’ boss, Rupert Murdoch, assumed control of Fox News as chairman and acting CEO.
Smith said that she and Carlson were “surprised” by the resignation and never imagined it happening so fast, saying “we were in it for the long haul.”
She said that Carlson’s legal team had not shared evidence from their case with investigators who were conducting an internal review for Fox News, suggesting that Ailes’ resignation was based on what was learned in the internal investigation.
Requests for comment to Ailes’ lawyer, Susan Estrich, were not immediately returned. Fox News did not immediately return ABC News' request for comment.
However, in the past, Ailes has said that “Gretchen Carlson’s allegations are false. This is a retaliatory suit for the network’s decision not to renew her contract, which was due to the fact that her disappointingly low ratings were dragging down the afternoon lineup.”
In response to Smith’s claim that other women have made similar allegations against Ailes, his outside counsel, Barry Asen, told New York magazine earlier this month: "It has become obvious that Ms. Carlson and her lawyer are desperately attempting to litigate this in the press because they have no legal case to argue. The latest allegations, all 30 to 50 years old, are false."
Carlson’s case will return to court on Aug. 15, when it is expected that a decision will be made over whether the case will be heard in New York or New Jersey.
Ailes’ immediate future was not clear.
A corporate source previously told ABC News that the former chairman will be available as an informal adviser to Murdoch, but would not be advising Fox News directly nor would he be a regular fixture inside the organization. That source was speaking on the condition of anonymity, because the source was not authorized to speak publicly about the matter.