Gretchen Carlson credits her Minnesota roots as she prepares to 'Break the Silence' on sexual harassment — again

Her new documentary series takes a hard look at sexual harassment in the workplace.

Paul and Jordana
January 10, 2019 - 8:06 pm

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While she’s had her fair share of liberal critics over the years, no one would dispute that Gretchen Carlson knows a thing or two about confronting the patriarchy: with a mix of cunning and courage, she took down arguably the most powerful man in television, Roger Ailes, with a sexual harassment lawsuit that shook Fox News to its core and changed the country’s media landscape.

Now, as Carlson prepares to launch a documentary series that will take a hard look at cases of sexual harassment in the workplace around the country, “Breaking the Silence,” which premieres Monday night on the Lifetime Network, she took a moment to reflect on what got her to this point on WCCO Radio’s Paul and Jordana show.  An Anoka native, Carlson was quick to credit her Minnesota upbringing. 

“Well, you know, it all harkens back to the way in which I was raised in Minnesota, to be honest with you. I was a gutsy little girl and some of that was innate and some of that my parents taught me—to always stand up for myself. And that stayed with me throughout my whole life,” she told Jordana Green and Paul Douglas on Thursday.

While the three part documentary series will primary focus on sexual harassment faced by everyday women, it begins by telling Carlson’s own story and her fight against Ailes. That meant, as she explained, going back to Anoka and talking to her mother and a childhood best friend. “We started with the emotional journey that I went through…this whole case impacted the people that were close to me,” she said.

Carlson said it was important to her that the series focuses on cases of women who wouldn’t otherwise be in the spotlight.

"We hear a lot about well known journalists and we hear a lot about famous Hollywood actresses. But what about the fast food worker and what about the firefighter and what about the police officer? And those were the women that I wanted to honor,” she said.

When she spoke about lessons learned from her own case and her experience reporting the series, Carlon took a step back, and said that ultimately, getting rid of sexual harassment has to do with the way we raise our children.

“If you're a parent, raise your kids to always have a voice. Raise your boys to respect women. That is just essential in this whole discussion. We spent a lot of time talking about empowering girls. But the reality is, what I've learned is it's really about our boys,” she said.

Carlon had a lot more to say about the series and her own experience. Listen to the full interview here: