Fox News host Gretchen Carlson joined Glenn today to talk about her book Getting Real
, which details some horrific past sexual abuses she suffered while in the workplace. In one instance she was so afraid she actually thought about jumping out of the car, and she was also stalked by a deranged individual for four years. How did she overcome it all? Check out the interview from radio today.
I want to welcome to the program Gretchen Carlson, she is part of Fox News, and she has a new book out called Getting Real. And Gretchen has been -- you know, she was Miss America. She seems like this happy-go-lucky person that nothing bad ever happened -- a lot of bad crap has happened to her in her life, and nobody ever talks about it. And in a country where we're battling, you know, a War on Women, you would think that she wouldn't have anything to talk about because she was Miss America, et cetera,, et cetera, but she's been in one of the slimiest industries, I believe, in the world. And that is the news media.
And in this book that she has, she talks about being sexually assaulted in the news media by people she worked for. Welcome to the program, Gretchen. How are you?
GRETCHEN: It's so great to be back with you. Thank you so much for having me.
GLENN: You're welcome. So can you just -- can you take us there? Because I find this remarkable, that these things went on. And I think they still go on.
GRETCHEN: Well, I'm hoping that some things have changed because some of my incidents happened more than 20 years ago. But I decided, Glenn, in Getting Real, that if I was actually going to write an inspirational memoir about my accomplishments and achievements, I was also going to tell everything else along the way as well and be extremely candid. And some of these stories are extremely painful, and I've never told them ever before.
You're alluding to the sexual harassment that I faced when I was Miss America at my first job in Virginia. And they are harrowing stories.
You know my mom used to put me to bed every night. And after saying prayers, say, you can be anything you want to be in this world. You have to work hard. Persevere and get through the pitfalls. She never told me that I was going to have these experiences with men, and not that she would have ever wanted me to have to go through something like that or warn me about it. But it was eye-opening to me when I was Miss America and it happened twice with two high-level executives, and both happened to be in cars.
You know, the details are pretty grisly. People can read about it in the book. And then on my first job in Virginia, it happened with a photographer who I worked with. And, you know, have you ever seen in movies where people roll out of cars because they're trying to get away from somebody who might hurt them in the car? That's actually what I went through. I thought about rolling out of the car at a high speed because I was so scared. This was before cell phones. You know, this is before --
GLENN: What was he doing?
GRETCHEN: You know, he had put a microphone on my blouse, which, you know, is close to certain body parts. And then when we got back in the car, he just started fantasizing about all of that and asking me how much I enjoyed it. And it went from there. You know, again, it's grisly. And I was -- I was fearing for my life, literally. We were in the middle of nowhere in Virginia, and I didn't know where this was going to go.
You add to that, Glenn, that for the first time ever in Getting Real, I talk about the fact that I endured a life-threatening stalker for four years. And the only reason I felt comfortable in telling this story in the book is because, in researching the book, I found out he's no longer with us. And I really wanted to help other women who have either gone through a similar situation like that or domestic violence even. Something very similar where they feel helpless.
GLENN: What did you do? What do you do during those fours years? How did you handle that?
GRETCHEN: Yeah. You know, he also stalked my parents, which was horrendous, because they got involved in the whole mix.
So he stalked me in Virginia. Then I moved to Cincinnati to my next job in TV, and he moved there. And the problem is that the laws don't really help the victims, you know. It was like nobody cared until the stalking victim was dead. And then they might pay attention to it. And I was basically terrorized on a 24/7 basis because when somebody is trying to find you, you are constantly looking over your shoulder. I mean I almost never really got started on a television career because the worst place to be was on TV when somebody was trying to find you.
So I finally got help from a detective in Cincinnati. I got this guy to trial. And guess what happened? He was convicted, and he got probation. After four years of absolute terror. And then he violated the probation. So he got one year in jail. That's it. He left me alone after that.
And as I just mentioned, in writing the book, I found out that he's passed away, so I felt safe enough to be able to tell this story for the first time. But, you know, these are just a series of stories that I share in Getting Real. That, sometimes as you alluded to, people look at radio or TV personalities and they think, wow, they've never had any issues, and everything just came easily. And I talk about a lot of other failures along the way.
I was a fat kid. I struggled with my self-identity. The message of the book is to build self-esteem especially for our young people today.
GLENN: How did you deal with -- how did you deal with that in television? I mean, I know what it's like for a guy in television.
PAT: You know what it's like to be a fat kid and a fat man.
GLENN: Thank you, Pat. And I know when I was over at CNN, they had issues with my size. And I know what it's like being at Fox. Just the unstated pressure of, better stay in shape. Better stay young-looking. But how did you deal with that?
GRETCHEN: Yeah, I don't know if it's just at Fox. Let's face it, television is a cosmetic industry.
GLENN: Yeah, I don't mean at just Fox. I mean, Fox is known for beautiful women. So I'm saying it's unstated. But I know I do, Gretchen. Television is horrible. Pat said this to me the other day too. You look in the mirror now and you start to see -- I'm a guy. I never even looked in the mirror ever. And you look in the mirror, and you start to see lines in your face. And you're like, oh, man, this looks horrible. And you just immediately know that that camera will be relentless.
GLENN: How did you deal with all of that?
GRETCHEN: The thing is, since I battled this as a child, I had to learn how to build my self-esteem in a different way. And through my music, you know, as a concert artist on the violin as a child -- so, you know, I think those are really great life lessons for anyone to note. But also for me, it's kind of like after turning 40, I don't really care anymore what people say about me or how they perceive me. You know, all the emails that come in, a lot of them are about my physical appearance still. And I just want to be clear, I still struggle with my weight. The only reason that I keep it somewhat in control is because I know how to deal with it now.
GLENN: You exercise all the time.
GRETCHEN: Well, I try to exercise. It's not like I wake up in the morning and eat a couple of Big Macs and just happen to look halfway decent on television. You know, I really -- I do struggle with my weight still today. And people can be relentless. But the thing is -- look, if you or I read all the emails or the tweets or Facebook posts that people say about us, we wouldn't get up in the morning.
The message and the reason why I talk about this in the book as well is that I do worry about our younger generations with a lot of this hate that goes on and with social media and so much focus on the exterior of people. So one of my great lessons in the book is to go back to building the self-esteem and self-confidence from the inside of our soul. And for me, you know, faith has a tremendous amount to do with that. So another huge theme is how faith has been my foundation in my life.
GLENN: Give me one more update. Tell me about your parents. I know when the Obama administration or Bush actually started it, he took over the General Motors. Then Obama came in and all of a sudden, all these Republicans lost their dealerships. Your family had owned a dealership forever.
GLENN: And lost the dealership because they were Republicans. Whatever happened to that?
GRETCHEN: Well, we never were able to prove exactly why they lost the dealership.
GRETCHEN: Thank you for having me on the show to talk about that extensively. Thank you for caring.
You know, my mom she said over my dead body is this thing going to go away. It's been in our family for over 100 years. And she fought back, Glenn. She became friends with every politician. She lobbied on Capitol Hill. And guess what, she got the dealership back.
GLENN: Holy cow.
GRETCHEN: My mom is 74 years old, and she now runs the dealership. So I have an amazing role model, but we just built a whole new building. And they are coming back like wildfire. But it's a testament to another great lesson in my book about perseverance. Right?
I mean, I learned it from my parents and my grandfather who was a minister, who grew the church from 800 to 8,500 members. Hard work and perseverance, with some pitfalls along the way, build character in people. And my parents are shining examples of that.
GLENN: Name of the book is Getting Real. Gretchen Carlson is the author. And it's good to have you.