Roger Ailes' death has reignited controversy over sexual harassment allegations and his legacy

Former Fox News head Roger Ailes’ death on Thursday sparked a debate about his legacy overseeing the rise of a dominant right-leaning news network marred by accusations of harassment.

Many prominent conservatives paid respect to Ailes, who advised a number of Republican presidential candidates before helping launch Fox News.

Former President George H. W. Bush tweeted that while his “friend” Ailes “wasn’t perfect,” he may not have been elected president without him.

A number of Fox News personalities also paid tribute to Ailes following his death.

Hosts Bret Baier, Bill Hemmer, and Sean Hannity quickly praised Ailes, and Ainsley Earhardt choked up on “Fox & Friends” while announcing Ailes’ death.

Still, others noted that his legacy was undoubtedly marked by the culture of harassment that some say flourished at Fox News under his watch.

Ailes left the company last year amid a number of accusations that he sexually harassed women at the company.

His ouster set off a chain of events that led to the departure of Fox News anchor Bill O’Reilly earlier this year under similar circumstances, forcing Fox to bring in an independent law firm to investigate harassment at the network. Federal prosecutors launched a probe into the company last year to determine whether it misled shareholders about the scope of harassment within the network.

None of this was lost on critics on Twitter.

Others criticised Ailes’ editorial instincts.

Throughout Ailes’ tenure, Fox News pushed a conservative agenda, particularly in primetime and early-morning programming. That helped catapult it to the top of the cable news network ratings.

While supporters felt the network showed a previously underrepresented point-of-view, others argued that it negatively affected the American political discourse by papering over facts in service of right-wing ideology.

Some reporters chided Ailes’ critics for grave-dancing.

The Hill’s Joe Concha, who occasionally appears Fox News, snarked at several critics who posted tweets noting Ailes’ alleged behaviour toward some women at Fox News.


NOW WATCH: WATCH: Putin reacts to Trump firing FBI Director James Comey

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.