Monday, August 01, 2016

When Fifty Shades of Grey Met NETWORK

The latest man to be cosbyed is none other the one of the greatest shapers of political media and campaigning in our modern era, Roger Ailes. Ailes now faces a sexual harassment charge as he is ushered out of FOX. Who knows if FOX News is going to turn left now, but that is for another day and post. The parade of accusations involves odd questions, hugs and whatnot. The best though is in the NY Mag article on Ailes and Laurie Luhn. The story reads like Fifty Shades of Grey crossed with NETWORK.

The people involved are Roger Ailes, creator of the famous Nixon in '68 commercial series and political image management as well as leading FOX News, and Laurie Luhn, long time employee as a booker for FOX that made $250,000 a year with a $3 million severance package and had multiple mental breakdowns requiring hospitalization and medication. There are despicable things in the essay like Luhn being proud of how the Iraq War was sold. Another political nugget is Ailes rivalry with Paul Manafort and Roger Stone (who ran a consultant group together) that hints at GOP Campaign 2016 really being Stone + Manafort vs. Ailes. Those bits are far more interesting than sex and settlements.

The best stuff though is the sex bits Luhn accuses Ailes of subjecting, even torturing her with. First, Luhn needed money and shucks she was not going to be able to pay her bills. Luhn sought arrangement. It gets to a point where she already bought lingerie that Ailes told her to get before the event. Here's where we drift to bizarroland.

Luhn put on the black garter and stockings she said Ailes had instructed her to buy; he called it her uniform. Ailes sat on a couch. “Go over there. Dance for me,” she recalled him saying. She hesitated. “Laurie, if you're gonna be my girl, my eyes and ears, if you are going to be someone I can depend on in Washington, my spy, come on, dance for me,” he said, according to her account. When she started dancing, Ailes got out a video camera. Luhn didn’t want to be filmed, she said, but Ailes was insistent: “I am gonna need you to do better than that.”

When she had finished dancing, Ailes told her to get down on her knees in front of him, she said, and put his hands on her temples. As she recalled, he began speaking to her slowly and authoritatively, as if he were some kind of Svengali: “Tell me you will do what I tell you to do, when I tell you to do it. At any time, at any place when I call. No matter where I call you, no matter where you are. Do you understand? You will follow orders. If I tell you to put on your uniform, what are you gonna do, Laurie? WHAT ARE YOU GONNA DO, LAURIE?” Then, she recalled, his voice dropped to a whisper: “What are you, Laurie? Are you Roger's whore? Are you Roger's spy? Come over here.” Ailes asked her to perform oral sex, she said.

What are you waiting forrrrrrrrrr? First, now we know why all FOX News women have great legs. Ailes is obviously a leg guy if he is calling garters and stockings a uniform. You know women reading that got fired up until they saw a picture of Ailes. Luhn even refers to him as "Daddy Roger" in the article. This continues for years, allegedly, as Luhn claims it was not an affair. It was not emotional. They just went through that ritual.

It gets weirder though later as she accuses Ailes of then getting her to be his madam to find new girls for him to fool around with regularly. It takes a darker turn years into the relationship with some S&M.
On three occasions, twice at the Renaissance and once at the Omni Berkshire, she said, Ailes demanded that she engage in sadomasochistic sex with another woman while he watched. The final such session occurred in the summer of 2005, Luhn recalled. Ailes snapped pictures.

Ailes threw $1,000 her way for that session. This is completely demented, but the longer one spends in corporate America, the more frequent one hears whispers of things like this. There is a early 30s professional woman I know who is mocked non-stop by men and women alike for her aggressive behavior, and some people know she cemented multiple job switches and relationships by getting Eiffel towered on multiple occasions. She is nuts, legit pill popper, and compensated well, but could easily pull a Luhn in 10-20 years on some man as he is pushed out of a firm. That's what makes Luhn's claims so odd.

Getting paid a quarter of a million dollars a year for this, if this happened, is not torture. Is it harassment? Anything is harassment these days. Luhn admits to hallucinations for a year. This whole ordeal is like 50 Shades + Network, and this really should not be a shock to anyone. This is just another breathless media cosbying of an old man being shown the door. Like not tackling Bill Cosby through the years, they waited until he was no longer useful. Are the allegations true? After the 20th woman, it's hard not to notice a pattern with Cosby. Still, the idea of retroactively changing how one sees an event to call it a crime is troubling. Note that details of the Dallas police shooter's Army time have come out where the female Army friend deemed all the stuff they did together as friends to be sexual harassment once she thought five years into the friendship that he had crossed a line and she formally friendzoned him.

More men will be cosbyed. The incentives are too great to ignore for aspiring women. More men will take proactive steps to never ever be alone with a female at work. Workplaces will see the "team feeling" suffer and decline. More people will seek an exit from corporate America. These things will happen, but so will the 50 Shades things. Some women will still seek men and men still seek women. Meeting one's spouse through work has declined significantly over time, so the casual normal relationships might wither away and die. This may leave only the most adventurous and daring of men and women to seek each other out, so work sex may get kinkier. Be careful on business trips men, a young woman may just be calculating the level of degrading act in exchange for a settlement from your firm.


peterike said...

"Who knows if FOX News is going to turn left now"

Isn't it already Left other than in a 'Murca, yargh! neocon kind of way?

As I recall, Fox first really broke big with viewers post 9/11 when it actually acted as if it were on America's side in Iraq, while all the other networks were vehemently anti-Bush, anti-soldiers, anti-war. Of course they always tried to parse that "we support the troops but not the war" thing, but it was pretty obvious they supported neither. Americans, as is their nature, sided with the nation during war (however ill conceived the war) and turned to Fox in droves.

But of course when Obama showed up, all wars were now OK, Code Pink got to shut down it's offices (metaphorically -- they were just ignored by the media), and Cindy Sheehan no longer had supreme moral authority. Nah, she was just tossed on the scrap heap having served her purpose as a bludgeon to beat Bush with.

What really separates Fox these days? I mean they have the "Conservative Inc." talking heads like Hannity and O'Reilly, but how right-wing are those guys? I guess they provide some support on immigration, but they are certainly pro-Israel, pro-war, pro-banksters, pro-"free trade" and all that usually neo-con, neo-Liberal talking points. I haven't watched Fox in years so I can't really say. But I'm pretty sure they aren't making white nationalist arguments during the morning show!

peterike said...

On the other issue. Am I the only one who finds that in this Mail headline:

"Roger Ailes filmed worker dancing in bra, met her for hotel romps and sexually harassed her for 20 years before Fox News paid her $3.15m in hush money"

... the most astonishing fact is TWENTY YEARS??!!? So we are supposed to be fine that despite GRllllll Power and all that, nobody wonders why Ms. Luhn spent TWENTY YEARS in Ailes' clutches? She apparently has zero agency I guess. Poor helpless thing.

I dunno, to me, you spend 20 years doing something, you're probably doing it for reasons you actually like. I'm not reading the interview with her, but did anyone dare ask, "So Laurie, why didn't you just leave?"

Portlander said...

"So Laurie, why didn't you just leave?"

Oh, you know they'll have an answer for that... She needed the job, it was an abusive relationship, she was scared to leave, blah, blah, blah.

Peter Blood said...

Surely this one's the proverbial golden-hearted whore.

Glengarry said...

So brave, Laurie. Or maybe it's mostly what she wished Roger did to her.