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A spectacular fall from grace: The true story behind Stan's new show The Loudest Voice.

Russell Crowe and Sienna Miller star in Stan’s new miniseries The Loudest Voice, but after spending four hours in the prosthetics chair, both are barely recognisable.

They play Roger Ailes, the former CEO of the television news network Fox News, and his wife Beth in the seven-part miniseries which is undoubtedly uncomfortable to watch – but that’s the point.

It’s the story of how Ailes created Fox News, how Fox News moulded public opinion and politics in America, and how a group of women eventually took Ailes down with allegations of sexual harassment.

Watch The Loudest Voice trailer. Post continues below audio.

Video by Showtime

Here’s what you need to know about the main figures in the series.

Roger Ailes.

roger ailes the loudest voice stan
Image: Getty.
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Roger Ailes was the founding CEO of Fox News, holding the job from 1996 till his resignation in 2016, amid a multitude of sexual harassment allegations.

Throughout his 20 years in the role, Ailes led the conservative news station through many landmark moments, many of which are documented in The Loudest Voice. Episode 2 follows September 11, and episode 3 takes place during the 2008 Presidential Election.

In the series the Ailes depicted by Crowe is openly racist and sexist. He tells a former BBC presenter, who is of Indian descent, that she speaks very good English, insists Fox News presenters always refer to Obama as "Barack Hussein Obama" and grabs at women's bodies.

In 2014, American author Gabriel Sherman wrote The Loudest Voice in the Room: How the Brilliant, Bombastic Roger Ailes Built Fox News - and Divided a Country. In it, he alleged that Ailes had offered a television producer a raise if she slept with him. He, and Fox News, denied the allegations and rejected Sherman's book.

Then in 2016, former Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against Ailes, opening up a can of worms that led to many other women coming forward with disturbing allegations against him, including former Fox staffer Laurie Luhn, who said he sexually harassed her for 20 years.

Other women claimed to have been demoted and taken off air when they rebuffed Ailes allegations.

Ten days after Carlson's lawsuit, New York magazine reported that an internal review in her claims had expanded into a broader review of Ailes' leadership.

The magazine reported another Fox anchor Megyn Kelly told investigators Ailes made "unwanted sexual advances toward her" at the beginning of her career.

It reported the Murdochs had given Ailes an ultimatum - either he must resign or be fired.

On July 21, 2016, Ailes resigned from Fox News. He received a $40 million sum as part of his exit agreement. He was thanked for his contribution to the network, without mention of the harassment allegations and went on to become an adviser to the Donald Trump campaign.

On May 18, 2017, Ailes died aged 77 due to a subdural hematoma, aggravated by his hemophilia.

Elizabeth Ailes.

Elizabeth and Rogers Ailes married on Valentine's Day 1998. They had met while working together at CNBC and she was his third wife.

Together they had one son, when Ailes was 59.

After the harassment allegations surfaced, Elizabeth stuck by her husband.

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After Megyn Kelly came forward with her allegations, New York magazine reported that Elizabeth wanted Fox News' PR department to resurface racy photos of Kelly from GQ Magazine in an attempt to "discredit" her. The PR department refused.

The magazine also reported that Elizabeth had been considering divorce but they remained married until Ailes' death.

Since his death, Elizabeth has largely remained out of the spotlight, though she still occasionally tweets and shares old images of her husband.

Elizabeth wanted nothing to do with the miniseries, according to Sienna Miller, who took on the role.

"She was not open to being part of the show, for obvious reasons," Miller explained to Entertainment Weekly.

"There’s very little footage of her that I had access to. But there were these two speeches which she gave, which were on YouTube, and another little interview, so I really kind of based my research around that, and relied on the script because there’s just not a lot of information on her out there. But the interview and the speeches I found were really revealing."

Miller said Ailes fall from grace was "spectacular", but his wife stayed completely devoted to him.

"As the plot developed, and obviously things are revealed about the nature of him as a man and his behaviour towards women, it was interesting to play somebody who stayed with him. I found that fascinating. Her father died when she was young and so Roger, I felt, in some ways was kind of a paternal figure in her life. But it’s a complicated relationship. I think they did really love each other."

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Rupert Murdoch.

rubert murdoch

In the miniseries, Australian-born media giant Rupert Murdoch is played by Simon McBurney.

Murdoch founded News Corp in 1980. At the time of its split in 2013, it was the world's fourth-largest media group.

Following Ailes resignation, Murdoch became acting CEO of Fox News.

Fox News.

"At Fox, we aim to be objective," Crowe, as Ailes, states in The Loudest Voice's pilot episode. The episode is placed just after Murdoch announced the new 24/7 news network, with Ailes in the top job.

In 2019, the line seems almost comical. Fox News is routinely criticised for its conservative bias across its programming and reporting. We know that, viewers know that, Ailes knew that.

Fox News used the slogan "Fair and Balanced" while it was being established, coined by Ailes. It was ironic - but signalled Ailes intent to counteract what he believed was liberal, left-wing bias ingrained in television coverage on other networks.

"Every other news service has a left wing bent. They’re playing to a liberal elite," Crowe's character says in the pilot. "We’ll let them all battle out for that half. And we’ll own the other half."

The Loudest Voice is now streaming on Stan.

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