Harvey Weinstein may be one of the more well-known tales of serial sexual harassment, but before Weinstein there was Roger Ailes.
Bombshell is based on true events that happened in 2016 that led to the downfall of Ailes.
In 2016, news anchor Gretchen Carlson (played by Nicole Kidman) filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against Fox News’ CEO and Chairman Roger Ailes (played by John Lithgow), accusing him of sexual misconduct in the workplace. Carlson says Ailes sabotaged her career after she rejected his advances, including having her fired.
In the lawsuit, Carlson says she was subject to "severe and pervasive sexual harassment", adding that Ailes encouraged her to wear certain things, and often asked her to turn around so he could "view her posterior".
When Carlson complained of "sexist and condescending behaviour", Ailes "unlawfully retaliated" and "damaged her career" by cutting her pay, assigning her less favourable news slots, and denying her lead stories.
In response to Carlson bringing against the lawsuit, he told her, “I think you and I should have had a sexual relationship a long time ago and then you’d be good and better and I’d be good and better.”
Carlson wasn’t alone in her accusations. When news broke of her lawsuit, more than 20 other women came forward.
Of them was fellow news anchor Megyn Kelly (played by Charlize Theron), who claimed Ailes made non-consensual sexual advances towards her. Kelly didn’t file her own charges - the incident happened 10 years prior - but she did share her story in her memoir, Settle for More.
"Roger called me up to New York and we had a shocking exchange. I was nervous about going into his office, concerned he might start in again. Sure enough he did,” Kelly wrote in her book. “And then he crossed a new line — trying to grab me repeatedly and kiss me on the lips."
Margot Robbie’s Bombshell character Kayla Popsisil, a Fox News associate producer, is fictional.
Ailes resigned two weeks after Carlson’s lawsuit was filed in 2016, however, he received a payout of US$40million.
He died the following year at the age of 77 of haemophilia.
Bombshell is coming out on January 16, 2020.