The 2019 Showtime series, “The Loudest Voice” is all about the television career of Roger Ailes, who became CEO of Fox News, owned by Rupert Murdock, in the mid 1990’s. What this 7 part series clearly shows is that over time, a person who lacked all empathy, integrity and human decency like Roger Ailes would verbally and sexually abuse countless women who he employed. Ailes never cared about all of the woman he abused and terrorized, because he thought he was better and more important than everybody else. In all cases like this with any person in a position of power over others, including so many during the “Me Too Movement” – time and the number people involved catches up to them, and they pay the price for what they have done. In the case of Roger Ailes he was fired from Fox News in 2016 and the allegations of 23 women finally came out, following the lawsuit of Gretchen Carlson.
There are many things to like about this series, starting with the great acting of Russel Crowe who played Roger Ailes that included wearing a fat suit and heavy makeup during the series. Ailes wife Beth Ailes, was played by Sienna Miller and her acting was also a standout, as she defended Ailes throughout their marriage, despite the endless allegations of abuse and sexual harassment. Miller’s makeup as Ailes 50+ wife made her unrecognizable throughout this series.
The message of this great story is that those of us who get to be in charge of other people who are trying to make a living have a choice to either use their power over others in a humane and professional way, or become abusive because they know that the other person is terrified of losing their job. Abusive leverage like this is far worse in the movie or news industries, because the jobs are far more high paying, and far less likely to ever attain in the first place. People like Harvey Weinstein(now in prison) and Matt Lauer (fired and disgraced as a Today show anchor), Bill Cosby (now in prison) used their clout and power to ruin the lives of other people, never caring about the damage they caused. The victim list during the years of the recent “Me Too” movement is huge and even included a picture of 60 women on the cover of Time Magazine who accused Bill Cosby of drugging and raping them.
The rest of the cast of The Loudest voice include Seth McFarland as one of Ailes rudely treated assistants, Brian Lewis and Naomi Watts who is outstanding as Gretchen Carlson. It was Carlson’s recording of 20 hours of her abusive conversations with Ailes that eventually brought him down. One thing I did not understand during this series was why there was no inclusion of Megyn Kelly during this series, considering her importance to the Roger Ailes story.
The ratings on Rotten Tomatoes for this series at only 55% make no sense, but the very high 7.9 rating on IMDB is far more accurate. This is an excellent series and worth getting Showtime even temporarily just to see it.