This story has been updated to reflect the most recent reporting.
Roger Ailes, an Ohio University alumnus who served as the former Fox News chairman and CEO, has died at 77.
Ailes, a 1962 OU alumnus, donated $500,000 to the university in 2007 in exchange for having a newsroom named after him. As part of a contract with the university, Ailes agreed to pay the full amount within five years.
More than 20 women accused Ailes, who was born in Warren, of sexual harassment last year. Former OU President Roderick McDavis announced at the Sept. 12 Faculty Senate meeting that Ailes’ name and plaque would be removed from a WOUB newsroom. The letters of Ailes’ name were removed before the Faculty Senate meeting ended, and within a day of the meeting, Ailes’ name had been painted over on the wall of the WOUB newsroom.
“Ohio University sends heartfelt condolences to the Ailes family,” OU Spokeswoman Carly Leatherwood said in an email.
The $500,000 was wired back to Ailes’ bank account on Sept. 15, and the $40,000 endowment Ailes gave to OU for scholarships was returned to him on March 1.
Fox News’ parent company reached a $20 million settlement in September with Gretchen Carlson, a former Fox News anchor who sued Ailes over sexual harassment allegations in July.
Fox News executive chairman Rupert Murdoch hired Ailes to create Fox News, and Ailes launched the network in 1996. Ailes’ career in television began in Cleveland during the 1960s after he graduated from OU.
Before launching Fox, Ailes worked on a few Republican presidential election campaigns.
Ailes was hired by President Richard Nixon as a media adviser for his 1968 presidential campaign and served as an aide to Nixon in 1970.
In 1984, Ailes worked on President Ronald Reagan’s re-election campaign and helped get President George H.W. Bush elected.