Why This Sexual Harassment Whistleblower Wants You To "Be Fierce"

The former anchor has become a leader in the conversation around sexual harassment.

The former anchor has become a leader in the conversation around sexual harassment.

Gretchen Carlson's allegations of sexual harassment against Fox News exec Roger Ailes last year were a major catalyst for uncovering a rampant culture of sexism across industries. On Girlboss Radio, she takes a deep dive into what it was like, and what she's doing to help other women.

When Gretchen Carlson set out to write her latest book, Be Fierce: Stop Harassment and Take Your Power Back, in the wake of filing a sexual harassment lawsuit against former Fox News Chairman and CEO Roger Ailes last year, she couldn’t have guessed where the conversation would be today.

Still, as horrific as recent revelations have been, none of it is particularly surprising. “I think what my story did was really open the floodgates for women to ... come forward,” she says on Girlboss Radio. “This is an epidemic. It’s everywhere. It’s in every profession. It’s not just Hollywood and television. It’s waitresses and Wall Street bankers and the military. I mean, it’s absolutely everywhere.”

It’s a point that’s been underscored again and again since her allegations became a turning point in the cultural conversation last summer, followed up by numerous testimonies against men in powerful positions: Bill O’Reilly, handful of CEOs and high-profile founders in Silicon Valley, Harvey Weinstein, and James Toback.

It's a topic Carlson has taken up with a vehemence in her book, published in October, as well as via the Gift of Courage fund and the Gretchen Carlson Leadership Initiative, both of which are dedicated to combating a culture of sexism in the workplace and providing resources to women who are victim to it.

On the show, Carlson shares her insights as to how women can and should deal with inappropriate behavior, one of the most cringeworthy experiences she had as Miss America (and how she eventually found vindication), President Trump’s one dangerous skill, and why she wishes people would stop asking her to play the fiddle.

Listen to the full episode here:

On the eventual election of Donald Trump as President of the United States in 2016:

“I don’t care what your politics are. It depends on how you treat human beings, and [the Donald Trump Access Hollywood Tapes were] such an affront to how anyone should treat anyone else. It was unacceptable in my mind that anyone would have looked past that and said, ‘But his policies are such and such.’”

On the continuing momentum of fighting sexual harassment:

“Look where we are today, with all these women coming together. Sometimes it takes one or two or five or six, or however many, to ignite a firestorm. Cultural shifts don’t happen quickly, but my goodness, look what’s happened in only 15 months since my story broke.”

“As sad as those ‘me too’ stories were to go through and read, it really said to me that this is a moment in time where women are not going to go back into ‘shut up’ mode. And that makes me incredibly proud.”

On focusing on the career you want:

“It’s incredibly important to spend that alone time with yourself—to see yourself in a positive light and actually achieving the goal that’s in front of you.”

“Take risks. It’s really important to not always [try to] be perfect, and one of the ways in which you do that is to just take little mini risks every single day. Go out of your comfort zone. Once you do that, you realize, ‘Wow, that wasn’t so bad.’”

On what "success" means to her:

“‘Success’ means making the most of your talents. I really feel that that’s a central obligation as to why we’re here—to make a difference and to understand and embrace the fact that life works in mysterious ways; your mission may change at a moment’s notice. Mine has.”

Girlboss Radio debuts a new episode every Wednesday, at midnight PDT. Tune in!

Words: Deena Drewis
Photo: Courtesy/Composite