Fox News boss Roger Ailes fired back at former network newsgal Gretchen Carlson last night, saying her sexual harassment lawsuit against him is retaliation for “the network’s decision not to renew her contract, which was due to the fact that her disappointingly low ratings were dragging down the afternoon lineup.”

“Gretchen Carlson’s allegations are false,” Ailes said in a statement. “When Fox News did not commence any negotiations to renew her contract, Ms. Carlson became aware that her career with the network was likely over and conveniently began to pursue a lawsuit.

“Ironically, FOX News pro­vided her with more on-air opportunities over her 11-year tenure than any other employer in the industry, for which she thanked me in her recent book,” Ailes’ statement continued. “This defamatory lawsuit is not only offensive, it is wholly without merit and will be defended vigorously.”

Carlson sued Ailes yesterday, claiming she was fired after she refused his sexual advances and complained about harassment in the workplace.

Carlson, the former host of “Fox and Friends” and “The Real Story with Gretchen Carlson,” had worked at the network for 11 years before she was abruptly sent packing June 23.

She claims that she met with Ailes nine months earlier to complain that her co-host Steve Doocy treated her in a hostile and con­descending way.

In response, her complaint alleges­, Ailes told her, “You and I should have had a sexual relationship a long time ago.”

The 50-year-old Carlson, who was Miss America in 1989, alleged that Ailes, who is 76 and one of the most powerful men in the media­ business, ogled her, repeatedly commented about her legs, urged her to wear clothes that enhanced her figure and told her she was sexy but “too much hard work.”

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