Roger Ailes was a terrible person whose death doesn’t erase his crimes. I don’t mourn his death for a single second.
Roger Ailes was a serial sexual predator who harassed women for decades. He punished female employees for wearing pants or gaining weight, despite looking like a sallow, rotten pumpkin himself. He punished women who rejected his advances and publicly humiliated them when coming forward.
Former Fox news journalist and current CNN anchor Alisyn Camerota revealed her years of sexual and “emotional” harassment at his hands. He was “bully, and mean,” she reported on the air. She described working under his reign as “a lot of suffering in silence and people who felt humiliated and people who felt scared and people who felt intimidated.”
His influence over Republican politics began decades ago when he was a political consultant for candidates like Nixon and George H.W. Bush. He exploited white fears of minorities for the betterment of his party. In its obituary, ABC News reminds us that Ailes helped elect Bush by crafting a racist campaign commercial involving a black felon assaulting a white woman because of “Democrats’ supposedly soft-on-crime policies.”
He continued to steer conservative politics from his throne in right-wing media, building a legion of followers who were either looking for an outlet for their own bigotry, too ignorant to know better or both. Donald Trump couldn’t have been elected without him.
His lasting invention will be FOX News. In other words, he’s the Thomas Edison of racist, sexist, homophobic ultra-right TV. His work continues to mire the country in ignorance and bigotry. The network’s ugliness reflected its creator; Ailes was racist, sexist and homophobic. His progeny includes Bill O’Reilly, Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity and the rest of that network of blossoming assholes.
The idea that we shouldn’t speak ill of the dead is well-intended but naive. Some people are evil and the world is better off without them. Roger Ailes will not be missed.