Roger Ailes, former Fox News chief was many things. But perhaps the two best words to describe him, are both a genius and a monster. In the new documentary “Divide and Conquer: The Story of Roger Ailes,” the audience gets a glimpse behind the facade Ailes put up for many years.
He had a strong grasp in the political sphere; from coaching Richard Nixon as a media advisor to his reconstruction of Fox News. Glenn Beck said about Ailes, “It’s easy to make somebody into a monster. It’s hard to see that you’re on that path, too.”
Ailes was the media consultant to presidents Nixon, Reagan, and George H.W. Bush. He was able to successfully shape American political history and left his mark for decades to come. Ailes impact on Fox News is the most notable aspect of who he was.
After launching Fox News ratings, there were more viewers than all their competitors combined. In 2016, Director Alexis Bloom shows the tremulous life of Ailes, the good, bad, and the ugly.
And it got really ugly.
In 2016, Ailes was forced out of Fox amid multiple allegations of sexual harassment. Gretchen Carlson uncorked the gushing geyser with her July 2016 lawsuit claiming that Ailes had sexually harassed her. Then there were more, including TV host Megyn Kelly.
Marketing consultant Kellie Boyle recalled the dinner she had with Ailes at Union Station. She wanted to be an anchor, he said that he could help Boyle. He then remarked, “If you want to play with the big boys, you have to lay with the big boys.” Horribly aware of what he insinuated, she refused. Later, she found out that she had been blacklisted. “That was the end of my career.” Lidia Curanaj shared her own experience with Ailes, while during a job interview he told her that a Fox News woman needed to have “the entire package. People want to see a woman from head to toe. And he looked me up and down admiringly and said you definitely are beautiful enough to be here.”
Divide and Conquer is the origin story of one of the most powerful and divisive figures in American media, as well as a clear-eyed look at how we got where we are today.
Magnolia Pictures, A&E IndieFilms, Jigsaw Productions, Impact Partners, and Baird Films hosted a special screening at The Paley Center. The film will be in Theaters and On Demand: December 7.