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Former Fox News employees want release from their NDAs

Gretchen Carlson
Gretchen Carlson. Photo: Gary Gershoff/Getty Images

At least six former Fox News employees are calling on their old network to release them from nondisclosure agreements in order to allow them to speak out about potential sexual misconduct during their time at the company, Vanity Fair reports.

Driving the news: NBC News announced Friday it will release former employees from NDAs as it tries to control the damage stemming from allegations in former NBC reporter Ronan Farrow's new book, "Catch and Kill." The former staffers at Fox News — including former host Gretchen Carlson, the first woman to publicly file a lawsuit against former CEO Roger Ailes — are asking the network to follow suit.

"All women at Fox News and beyond forced to sign NDAs should be released from them immediately, giving them back the voices they deserve. None of us asked to get into a workplace dispute. We simply had the courage to stand up and say something—but in the end it's our voices no one can hear. Because of our NDAs, we can never say what is factually correct or incorrect about what happened to us at Fox."
— Carlson to Vanity Fair

The big picture: The media industry has undergone a reckoning in the wake of the #MeToo movement. Women speaking out about sexual misconduct in the workplace has led to the termination of NBC's Matt Lauer, CBS' Les Moonves and Fox News' own Bill O'Reilly and Roger Ailes, among others.

Background: Farrow's new book alleges NBC, his employer at the time, tried to put a stop to his investigation into abuses by Harvey Weinstein, forcing him to take the story to the New Yorker. NBC has denied the allegations.

The bottom line: "Powerful corporations have relied on NDAs to sweep sexual misconduct under the rug, often paying out millions of dollars to keep employees silent about the predatory behavior of senior executives," Diana Falzone writes for Vanity Fair.

Fox News did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Go deeper: Highlights from Ronan Farrow's new book "Catch and Kill

Editor's note: This article has been corrected to show that it was Vanity Fair, not Variety, that first reported this story.