News & Opinion
Roger Ailes's Gay Fear Is Legendary
This tale is worth retelling.
June 06 2013 9:57 AM EST
February 05 2015 9:27 PM EST
Journalist Jonathan Atler spends a lot of time dissecting and poking fun at Fox News chief Roger Ailes in his new book, The Center Holds: Obama and His Enemies. And why not? Ailes is a ready-made character, and not just for his ardent opposition to the president and all things liberal. He's self-conscious and blustery and occasionally jolly, and he's definitely not afraid to speak his mind, even when his comments are ridiculous, offensive or both. He once claimed critics dislike him because of his weight. In a less humorous anecdote, Ailes demands a Muslim man be escorted out of the News Corp. building. Ailes, in his addling, racist paranoia, assumed the man was a terrorist. He was in fact a janitor and on the payroll.
But a more amusing piece of gossip Atler passes along is the story of how Ailes, after receiving a new office in Fox News' midtown Manhattan building, asked that "bombproof" glass be installed to protect him from gay activists hellbent on attacking him. Here's that story, which Ailes has denied, as told by Tim Dickinson in a May 2011 edition of Rolling Stone:
"Murdoch installed Ailes in the corner office on Fox's second floor at 1211 Avenue of the Americas in Manhattan. The location made Ailes queasy: It was close to the street, and he lived in fear that gay activists would try to attack him in retaliation over his hostility to gay rights. (In 1989, Ailes had broken up a protest of a Rudy Giuliani speech by gay activists, grabbing demonstrator by the throat and shoving him out the door.)
"Barricading himself behind a massive mahogany desk, Ailes insisted on having "bombproof glass" installed in the windows - even going so far as to personally inspect samples of high-tech plexiglass, as though he were picking out new carpet. Looking down on the street below, he expressed his fears to [former Fox Managing Editor Dan] Cooper, the editor he had tasked with up-armoring his office. "They'll be down there protesting," Ailes said. "Those gays."
According to Atler's version of this beloved and believable tale, Ailes' fears were assuaged enough that he "settled for drawing the blinds instead." How very resourceful.