The past two decades saw Roger Ailes rise from obscurity into perhaps the most influential and allegedly abusive person at the intersection of American politics and media.
That rise earned him rabidly loyal fans, begrudging respect from others, and an army of detractors, which is easy to see in the comments that flooded Twitter after his death was reported on Thursday.
Ailes launched Fox News in 1996 and turned it into a megaphone for right-wing politics in the United States. He was ousted from his job as head of the network last year after former Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson sued him for sexual harassment. Other women made similar accusations, and soon media outlets churned out articles on the culture of sexual harassment (and racism) that Ailes enabled as he built his network.
After news of his death broke, reactions ran the full spectrum of emotion.
A lesson of today: if you live as an abusive, cynical scoundrel who loves nothing more than your own power, no one will cry when you die.
— Anand Giridharadas (@AnandWrites) May 18, 2017
For better or worse & the ignominious end 2 his reign at Fox News, the impact of Roger Ailes on American politics & media was indisputable.
— David Axelrod (@davidaxelrod) May 18, 2017
Roger Ailes has died. Wow. Sending deep and heartfelt condolences to everyone who was abused, harassed, exploited, and unjustly fired by him
— Marc Lamont Hill (@marclamonthill) May 18, 2017
Roger Ailes behaved egregiously toward women in his organization and changed our culture for the worse, making people dumber and angrier.
— Josh Barro (@jbarro) May 18, 2017
Today America lost one of its great patriotic warriors. Roger Ailes. For Decades RA’s has impacted American politics and media.
— Sean Hannity (@seanhannity) May 18, 2017
It’s OK to be happy when bad people die
— Barry Petchesky (@barry) May 18, 2017
Just because he’s dead doesn’t mean you have to say something nice about him. Would he give you the same break?
— Jack Shafer (@jackshafer) May 18, 2017
Roger Ailes ruined the lives of many women during his brief time on earth. May he be appropriately rewarded in the afterlife.
— Xeni Jardin (@xeni) May 18, 2017
Yes, Roger Ailes was a TV genius. He also had an apparently monstrous personal life and nasty, dangerous editorial instincts.
— Sam Stein (@samsteinhp) May 18, 2017
Whatever your thoughts on him Roger Ailes was the single most influential political-media figure of our times
— jimrutenberg (@jimrutenberg) May 18, 2017
Roger Ailes, despite all the vile shit he pathetically did to gain wealth & to make himself feel powerful & virile, died anyway.
— Caissie St.Onge (@Caissie) May 18, 2017