Time editor at large Belinda Luscombe interviewed Gretchen Carlson from her hyper-organized, spotless, Greenwich, Conn. home for this profile of the anchor as a young woman, as well as her present post-Fox life. It involves a lot more time spent with her children and volunteering, but Carlson is also prepping for her next move. Further out that will involve job prospects (she’s gotten a few calls), but in the nearer term, she will be speaking before Congress.
The topic? Forced arbitration, or contracts in which employees give up the right to sue, agreeing instead to arbitration-only settlements of any and all grievances, including say, sexual harassment. A bill being sponsored by Senators Patrick Leahy and Al Franken, both Democrats, plans to bring an end to the practice.
“A lot of people that I’ve heard from [about being unfairly dismissed] find themselves in the middle of either legal action or, more likely, forced arbitration,” she told Luscombe. “It is a huge problem. Because it’s secret. And it plays into why we think that we’ve come so far in society and we probably really haven’t—because we don’t hear about it.”
It is in part because of contracts like those that it took so long to learn that former Fox News CEO Roger Ailes may have been sexually harassing female employees for decades. Even Carlson’s lawsuit against Ailes (as opposed to Fox itself), which resulted in his resignation and a $20 million settlement could have been challenged under the scope of the clause.
In the interview, Luscombe also looks at Carlson’s childhood and its contrast of intense violin practice and academic achievement and how she downplayed all of that in order to fit in. A useful skill for the future, she notes:
This aptitude for camouflage would come in handy when, on Fox & Friends, the honors graduate of Stanford University would profess the need to look up such terms as ignoramus or czar when commenting on public policy. She was accused by Jon Stewart on The Daily Show of “stashing her IQ in an offshore account.” But Carlson claims that she did not dumb herself down for TV. “Of course I knew what those words were,” she says. Feigned ignorance was merely part of her repertoire.
You can read the entire piece here.