CLEVELAND - At the Republican National Convention, delegates and attendees responded to the news of Roger Ailes tenure at Fox News coming to an end, with some lauding the decision and others defending the longtime chairman and chief executive, critical that the decision was made before the legal process concluded.
But they all agreed — they would gladly take the $40 million settlement Ailes is reported to have received on his way out.
"I would sexually harass for $40 million," said John Andrica, a Fox News viewer and special delegate from Ohio, as he spooned macaroni and cheese into his mouth. "Not bad."
Still Andrica said that with Gretchen Carlson's lawsuit alleging sexual harrasment and accusations from other women piling up, it was probably time for Ailes to go.
"Where there's smoke, there's fire," said Amanda Miller, a guest at the RNC convention, adding that it was upsetting that the alleged harassment may have taken place for decades.
"But it shows you how much the culture had changed that ladies feel they can speak up for wrongdoings that have been done to them," she said.
Other women blasted the process that led to Ailes departure.
"We still live in a country where you're innocent until proven guilty," said Bilee Dinges, an Idaho alternate delegate, wearing a "Republicans who stay home elect Democrats" pin. She watches Fox News, she said, but believes it has gotten more liberal in recent years.
Elizabeth Nickel from Ohio said she thought that Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly, who reportedly told internal investigators that Ailes had sexually harassed her, "should be fired."
Nickel, who said she is on the Trump Train, felt Kelly went too far in challenging Trump for his comments about women.
But she also had problems with the settlement.
"Why should he get $40 million to leave?" she continued. "If you're charged with sexual harassment, who else would get some kind of severance package?"
Louisiana delegate Leslie Tassin said he watches the three-hour primetime Fox News block every day but "if he's guilty, they shouldn't keep him."
"It's tough to really know what happened because no one was there," said James Cogan, a conservative author. "It's an unfortunate situation — if he did it he deserves to go, but if it's unfounded, that's a pretty tough way to be forced out."
Scooping his last bit of mac and cheese, Andrica said despite the final chapter, Ailes leaves a legacy.
"He gets credit for creating Fox News," he said.
Adrian Carrasquillo is the White House correspondent for BuzzFeed News and is based in Washington, DC.
Contact Adrian Carrasquillo at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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