Journalist, author, and empowerment advocate Gretchen Carlson paved the way for the #metoo movement, with her historic 2016 sexual harassment complaint against the chairman of Fox News, Roger Ailes. Named one of Time Magazine’s “100 Most Influential People in the World,” Carlson is one of America’s most successful news anchors, as well as a globally recognized advocate for female empowerment, with her TED Talk on the subject garnering almost 2 million views. She is also the celebrated author of the New York Times bestseller “Be Fierce.”
Carlson previously hosted “The Real Story” on Fox News, and co-hosted the number-one rated cable morning news show, “Fox and Friends,” for more than seven years.
Carlson’s most recent return to television, as host and executive producer of A+E and Lifetime Network documentaries “Breaking The Silence,” as well as the upcoming “Beyond The Headlines: NXIVM Cult” and “Beyond The Headlines: The College Admissions Scandal,” breaks the barriers she faced after saying “enough” to harassment. Her comeback is a beacon of hope for other brave women demoted, fired or blacklisted from their chosen careers after reporting sexual harassment.
Carlson started her television career as a political reporter in Richmond, Virginia, and then served as an anchor and reporter in Cincinnati, Cleveland, and Dallas. In 2000 Carlson moved to national news as co-host and correspondent on CBS’ “The Saturday Early Show,” where she covered some of the world’s biggest stories, including the 9-11 terrorist attack from the World Trade Center, the Bush-Gore election, and Oklahoma City Bomber Tim McVeigh’s execution. She also reported and produced a 30-part series on domestic violence that won several national awards.
In 2016 Carlson became the face of workplace harassment survivors, gracing the covers of Time and Good Housekeeping magazines. Carlson’s book “Be Fierce” debuted in October 2017 and immediately a New York Times bestseller. Her memoir “Getting Real,” published in 2015 was also a best-seller. Profits from “Be Fierce” go to Carlson’s Gift of Courage Fund, which supports organizations empowering women and young girls. This year the fund is providing free workshops to low-income women facing gender-based discrimination and violence through the Gretchen Carlson Leadership Initiative and supporting the March of Dimes’ Gretchen Carlson Advocacy Fellows.
Since her harassment complaint became public, Carlson has worked fearlessly to change laws that protect predators. In December 2017, she joined a bi-partisan coalition of legislators to introduce the “Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Harassment Act,” which voids forced arbitration agreements that prevent sexual harassment survivors from getting their day in court. The bill was reintroduced in the House in February 2019 and Carlson testified before the House Judiciary Committee in May.
Carlson’s advocacy has been honored by numerous organizations, including the New York Women in Communications’ Matrix Award; the Radio Television Digital News Association’s First Amendment Leadership Award; the National Organization for Women’s 2018 Women of Power and Influence Award; and the YWCA Greater Los Angeles’ 2018 Phenomenal Champion of Change.
An honors graduate of Stanford University, Carlson was valedictorian of her high school class and studied at Oxford University in England. A violin prodigy, she performed as a soloist with the Minnesota Orchestra at age 13, and in 1989 became the first classical violinist to win the Miss America crown.
Carlson serves as a national Trustee for the March of Dimes and as a Trustee of the Greenwich Academy an all-girls preparatory day school.
Carlson is married to sports agent Casey Close. The couple lives in Greenwich with their two teenage children.