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TV Exec Who Discovered Roger Ailes Is Facing Sexual Harassment Claims

Variety logo Variety 6/27/2017 Gene Maddaus
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The legendary TV executive who gave Roger Ailes his start, and much later produced a show on Fox News, announced on Tuesday that attorney Lisa Bloom is threatening to sue him for sexual harassment.

Woody Fraser, the 82-year-old creator of “The Mike Douglas Show” and many other programs, is attempting to turn the tables on Bloom by preemptively announcing that she is targeting him. According to Fraser, two women have hired the attorney and demanded a significant sum to make the allegations go away. He said they have threatened to go public within the next few days.

“I do not possess the financial resources demanded by Ms. Bloom to prevent a media circus,” Fraser said in a statement. “So, instead, I am going to take away the hammer of publicity and am letting the public know that these unfounded claims are about to be aired publicly, including an attempt to label me the next ‘Roger Ailes.'”

The accusation would be ironic given Fraser’s role in launching Ailes’ career. In 1961, Fraser created “The Mike Douglas Show,” which ran for more than 20 years in daytime syndication. Early on, Fraser hired Ailes as a young segment producer. Ailes would later apply his TV talents to Richard Nixon’s 1968 presidential campaign, and go on to be a titan in Republican media.

Fraser had a remarkable career of his own, producing “The Dick Cavett Show,” “Good Morning America,” “The Richard Simmons Show,” and many more. Most recently, Fraser was the executive producer of “Huckabee” on Fox News.

Bloom did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Fraser did not detail the allegations against him, but he did acknowledge that he is not “perfect” while saying his conduct was not illegal.

“I believe this media-driven event is part of a calculated attempt to ruin my reputation after I refused to settle these accusations in an amount she demanded,” he said. “Like many others, I would have preferred resolving things quietly, even though I engaged in no actionable conduct.”

According to Fraser, the two accusers are still working as well-paid TV executives.

“Although I am far from perfect, I am confident that when the facts regarding the nature of the allegations are fully revealed, before a jury if necessary, my reputation will be restored,” he said.

Ailes, who died last month, was forced out as chairman and CEO of Fox News amid a storm of sexual harassment allegations last year. Fraser said he worked with Ailes at Fox for nine years, and never witnessed any misconduct on Ailes’ part.

“I would have stopped it immediately if I had,” he said.

Fraser is being represented by Howard M. Knee and Caroline P. Donelan of Blank Rome LLP.

Related video: Ailes' legacy, from Nixon to FOX (via MSNBC)

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