Gretchen Carlson: Coming forward with Roger Ailes accusation was 'excruciating'

Posted at 5:14 PM, Oct 27, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-27 19:58:11-04

CINCINNATI -- There's a movement going on across America for victims of sexual harassment to stand up and speak out. 

At the forefront of that movement is Gretchen Carlson, the former Fox News anchor who sued the then-network head Roger Ailes, accusing him of sexual harassment.

Carlson, who's also a former 9 On Your Side reporter, said she would have "been put into the shadows of secrecy like thousands of other women" if it hadn't been for her lawyers' "brilliant strategy" of making the story public. 

Since then, Carlson has become a best-selling author. Her book, "Be Fierce: Stop Harassment and Take Your Power Back," details women's stories of harassment and what anyone who is harassed should do.

Carlson sat down with 9 On Your Side's Tanya O'Rourke Friday and shared some of that advice.

"You have a to call a lawyer first and foremost," Carlson said. "The laws are different in every state. Statutes of limitation are short and you really need that 10-minute legal advice before you do anything."

It's also important to document everything, and not leave it at work, according to Carlson. 

"What happened to a lot of women who told me their story after mine broke is that they had been documenting, but they kept it at work and then they got fired and they couldn't go back to their office," she said.

Carlson also recommended telling at least two trusted colleagues.

"I know it's hard, but you have to do that because you have to have witnesses," she said.

It's also important to know company policies "to the letter of the law" so a case doesn't get thrown out, according to Carlson. 

"You have to plan," Carlson said. "And most times, women don't have a plan."

Stepping forward will never be easy, according to Carlson. It certainly wasn't for her.

"It was excruciating," she said. "This is an excruciating choice; probably, no doubt, the biggest professional choice in my life, possible in my entire personal life as well. It's a huge risk: 'liar,' 'trouble maker,' 'you can't take a joke,' 'you have boys,' 'you hate men.' But it was worth it to me because, look where we are today. And if I have done any part in giving that gift of bravery or courage to women, then I have done my job."