Female Empowerment Advocate
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Gretchen Carlson is a fierce, fearless and internationally recognized advocate for women’s rights, whose bold actions against Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes helped pave the way for the global #MeToo movement. A journalist, author, TED talk alum, and champion for workplace equality, Carlson was named one of Time Magazine’s “100 Most Influential People in the World” and is a member of the TIME’S UP Global Leadership Board. She’s a PEOPLE TV special contributor and host of the new daily news podcast “Get The News With Gretchen Carlson” on Quake Media. Carlson is the author of the New York Times bestseller “Be Fierce” and “Getting Real,” and recently co-founded the non-profit Lift Our Voices to end the silencing of harassment victims through forced arbitration and non-disclosure agreements.
One of America’s most successful journalists, Carlson has been on the front lines of the biggest stories shaping our nation for over two decades. Starting her career as a political reporter in Richmond, Virginia, Carlson worked her way up through local newsrooms in Cincinnati, Cleveland and Dallas before moving to national news in 2000 as co-host and correspondent for CBS’ “The Saturday Early Show.” At CBS she led coverage of historic events including the World Trade Center bombing and 9/11 terrorist attacks. In 2005, Carlson joined Fox News, where she co-hosted the #1 cable morning news show “Fox and Friends” for more than seven years and “The Real Story” for three years. Over the past two decades, Carlson’s catalog of interviews includes every U.S. President, Vice President and Presidential candidate as well as hundreds of leaders in business, entertainment and politics.
Carlson’s advocacy for women is a cornerstone of her career, beginning in 1999 with a 30-part, award-winning series on domestic violence she produced and reported in Dallas. Her groundbreaking 2016 complaint against Ailes made her the face of workplace harassment and inaugurated her more recent work to support survivors and hold predators accountable.
Since 2017, Carlson has worked with a bi-partisan coalition of legislators in Congress to introduce and advocate for 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 of Representatives in February 2019 and Carlson testified before the House Judiciary Committee in May 2019.
Carlson created the Gift of Courage Fund in 2017, partnering with the nonprofit All In Together to launch the Gretchen Carlson Leadership Initiative, which hosts advocacy trainings for underserved women nationwide. In 2018, she founded the Carlson March of Dimes Advocacy Fellows program, which brings together women from across America to promote legislation and policies benefiting women and children.
Carlson returned to television in 2018 as host and producer of A&E and Lifetime Network documentary series “Breaking the Silence” on workplace harassment and led investigative reporting into the NXIVM cult and college admissions scandals. Earlier this year, Carlson announced a TV deal with Blumhouse Productions to produce and host a new interview series.
.Carlson’s story of harassment and retaliation at Fox News has garnered international attention, including the Showtime mini-series “The Loudest Voice” and movie “Bombshell.” Yet because of non-disclosure agreements, Carlson was prohibited from giving any input into these projects or providing feedback to actors Naomi Watts and Nicole Kidman, who portrayed her.
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; the YWCA Greater Los Angeles’ 2018 Phenomenal Champion of Change; and the Arizona Foundation for Women’s Sandra Day O’Connor Lifetime Achievement Award.
Carlson serves as a trustee for the March of Dimes National Board; on the Catherine Violet Hubbard Foundation Gala Committee; on the Greenwich Academy Board; and on the Advisory Committee of The Press Forward, which focuses on issues surrounding harassment and workplace rights in America’s newsrooms. She is also a member of the philanthropic organization Women Moving Millions, a global collective of women making unprecedented gifts of $1 million or more for the advancement of women and girls.
Carlson is an honors graduate of Stanford University and studied at Oxford University. A violin prodigy, she performed as a soloist with the Minnesota Orchestra at age 13 and was one of her high school's valedictorians. In 1989 became the first classical violinist to win the Miss America crown.
Carlson is married to sports agent Casey Close. The couple and their two children live in Connecticut.