The widow of former and longtime Fox News CEO Roger Ailes attacked the network in a Monday morning tweet that recognized what would have been her husband’s 83rd birthday.
Elizabeth Ailes, who married Fox News’ founding chief executive and chief architect in 1998, lashed out at Fox Corporation CEO Rupert Murdoch for tanking the network her husband made a magnet for conservatives.
Ailes was forced out of his job at Fox News in 2016 when it was alleged the network had been overtaken by a culture of sexual harassment.
He died months later after a fall at his Palm Beach, Florida, home.
Roger Ailes saw Fox News go from a small startup in 1996 to the undisputed leader in cable news within a few years.
In recent weeks, the network has experienced lows not seen since before the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks.
Tucker Carlson was fired by the network unexpectedly and without explanation on April 24. In the weeks since he was ousted, his old time slot has fallen off a ratings cliff.
The prime-time slot has lost more than half of its audience while Carlson’s absence has also affected other shows.
Monday morning, Elizabeth Ailes implied the network was in free fall and blamed Murdoch by name for destroying her husband’s legacy.
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“Happy Heavenly Birthday Roger Ailes,” Elizabeth Ailes tweeted.
“It took you 20 years to build Fox News into the powerhouse that it was and only 6 years for the Murdochs to wreak havoc,” she added.
She concluded, “Rupert thought he could do your job. What a joke. He has the checkbook but could never come close to your genius. RIP.”
Happy Heavenly Birthday Roger Ailes. It took you 20 years to build Fox News into the powerhouse that it was and only 6 years for the Murdochs to wreak havoc. Rupert thought he could do your job. What a joke. He has the checkbook but could never come close to your genius. RIP. pic.twitter.com/UqQHhS5Uvz
— ELIZABETH AILES (@ELIZABETH_AILES) May 15, 2023
Roger Ailes stepped down from his post in July 2016 just months before the 2016 election and during a third-party investigation into the company’s culture.
Reuters reported at the time Ailes was forced out after Murdoch and his sons, James and Lachlan Murdoch, each agreed he needed to go after a series of sexual harassment claims and settlements rocked the network.
Roger Ailes denied the allegations, and he died before he had the opportunity to defend himself in court against accusations he categorized as “offensive.”
Fox News’ founding CEO was replaced by Suzanne Scott.
Roger Ailes was a prominent Republican Party political consultant before he was tapped by Murdoch to launch Fox News.
In his earlier years, he had the ears of former Presidents Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, and George H.W. Bush.