Gretchen Carlson, former Fox News anchor, to speak in Cedar Rapids Wednesday

Advocate for workplace equality to point up importance of combating sexual harassment

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CEDAR RAPIDS — Gretchen Carlson, the former Fox News anchor who brought the lawsuit that helped topple the network’s chairman and chief executive officer, will be a keynote speaker during the Iowa Women Lead Change conference next week in Cedar Rapids.

Carlson will participate in a question-and-answer session with Tiffany O’Donnell, IWLC chief operating officer, during the organization’s 10-year anniversary dinner at 6:15 p.m., Wednesday, in the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Cedar Rapids Convention Complex.

Carlson made headlines this past July when she sued Fox News chief Roger Ailes for sexual harassment, saying she was wrongfully terminated after she rebuffed years of unwanted sexual advances, according to Reuters. Ailes resigned about two weeks after the suit was filed and Fox News paid $20 million to settle the lawsuit with Carlson the following September, Reuters said.

Carlson, a Minnesota native, could not speak on any specifics of her lawsuit or anything Fox News-related during an interview with The Gazette due to the nature of her settlement. However, she did say she planned to speak about facing sexual harassment in the workplace and ways to address the issue.

Since the settlement, Carlson has become an advocate for the issue and said she’s been heard from women all over the country who have faced a similar circumstances.

“It was so pervasive across all different occupations, and alarmingly it became crystal clear to me very soon after that every woman still has a story in 2017,” Carlson said. “I think that is absolutely amazing and wrong. So I plan to do something about that.”

Carlson said much of her lobbying at Capitol Hill is on reform of arbitration clauses in employment contracts, which require parties to resolve disputes through an arbitration process. The problem with this, she said, is that it allows cases of sexual harassment to be kept quiet.

“We’re kind of fooling people we’ve come so far with some of these issues because we don’t hear about them,” Carlson said.

Carlson said she intends to share some of the other women’s stories with IWLC attendees Wednesday and to help empower women in any situation they encounter.

“It’s not just about sexual harassment, it’s an issue about women being held back or held down in any situation in their lives,” she said.

The Gazette is a media sponsor of the conference.

l Comments: (319) 368-8536; michaela.ramm@thegazette.com

Read more: Speakers to address overcoming hurdles at work, in life at IWLC conference

 

If you go

— What: Iowa Women Lead Change 10-Year Anniversary dinner will feature Gretchen Carlson, former Fox News host, as keynote speaker

— When: Wednesday, April 26

— Time: Reception starts at 6 p.m., with dinner beginning at 7 p.m.

— Where: DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Cedar Rapids Convention Complex, 350 First Ave. NE, Cedar Rapids

— Tickets: Tickets for the dinner cost $85 for conference attendees, $150 for non-conference attendees.

— Website: More information on the IWLC conference and to buy tickets for the anniversary dinner — as well as for the entire two-day event — can be purchased at https://www.iwlcleads.org/events/eastern-iowa-conference.


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