Roger Ailes’ victims fight back in a film where the odious media mogul looms large … before Rupert Murdoch saves the day
The loathsome Roger Ailes, notorious as a former Nixon apparatchik and veteran CEO of the stridently mediocre Fox News channel, became even less fragrant in 2016 when the open secret of his sexual harassment became an open non-secret. The channel’s former anchor Gretchen Carlson successfully filed a lawsuit against him, revealing that he made sexual advances to her and other women at Fox; their careers would be advanced (or cancelled) at his seedy whim. Carlson’s courageous lawsuit was supported by six other women and the 76-year-old Ailes’s own boss, Rupert Murdoch, fired his underling, who died a year later.
This gruesome soap opera of misogyny and reactionary politics has already been turned into a Showtime TV drama, The Loudest Voice, with Naomi Watts as Carlson and Russell Crowe as Ailes – and now it is a movie directed by Jay Roach and written by Charles Randolph, with Nicole Kidman as Carlson and John Lithgow horribly plausible and latexed up as her bloated old sex-criminal employer. Charlize Theron is Fox News presenter Megyn Kelly, who infuriated the Fox News fanbase by challenging Trump on his anti-women attitudes before the election, and Margot Robbie plays Katya Pospisil, a fictional composite of all the younger women who were abused. She is the “Christian influencer” on Instagram who figures she can get ahead at Fox, and submits, almost in a dream, to the humiliation required.
Bombshell review – Fox News abuse drama pulls its hardest punches