Fox News Headquarters in New York City. / REUTERS

Fox News: New Discrimination Lawsuits Filed

Revelations of the workplace environment at Fox News continue to unfold as three women employees filed federal discrimination lawsuits against the news channel on Monday.


Kathleen Lee, a Fox News Radio shift editor, claims she was sexually harassed and subjected to “unceasing retaliation” for her complaints. A Fox News accounts receivable specialist, Vidya Mann, said she was taken on as a temporary employee but passed over for permanent jobs in favor of white coworkers. And Naima Farrow claims she was fired from her job as an accounts payable coordinator after telling supervisors she was pregnant.

Lee alleges that Ron Flatter, a former radio anchor, made fun of her disability, intimidated and berated her on a constant basis.Flatter referred to Lee and other employees as “whores” and “sluts” and would go into uncontrolled rages, according to the complaint obtained by Variety.

Flatter left the network in July 2015, which was more than a year after Lee’s repeated complaints.The complaint also “describes a culture of widespread sexual harassment,” said Variety.

Attorney Douglas Wigdor filed lawsuits in the U.S. District Court in the Southern District of New York on behalf of the women. Wigdor is the same attorney representing at least 23 current and former Fox News employees with legal claims against the company.

Last week, Fox News fired Bob Beckel, co-hostof”The Five,” for “making an insensitive remark to an African-American employee.”

According to Wigdor, when a Black IT worker arrived to service Beckel’s computer, the TV co-host “stormed out of his office” and told “our client that he was leaving his office because he is Black.”

In their lawsuit filed on Monday, accounting employees Mann and Farrow also allege they endured racially discriminatory remarks from Judith Slater, the network’s former comptroller who was fired in February.

In the lawsuit filed in March, Tichaona Brown, a payroll manager, and Tabrese Wright, a payroll coordinator, said executives at Fox News and 21st Century Fox ignored repeated complaints against Slater.Brown and Wright said they “and other dark-skinned employees suffered years-long relentless racial animus.”

The lawsuit states that Slater claimed Black men are “women beaters” and that she regularly expressed her fear of Black people.On one occasion, Slater asked Wright, a mother of three, if her children “were fathered by the same man,” according to the lawsuit.

“We take complaints of this nature very seriously and took prompt and effective remedial action before Ms. Brown and Ms. Wright sued in court and even before Ms. Wright complained through her lawyer,” a spokeswoman said in March.

In response to the new lawsuits filed on Monday, the rhetoric from a Fox spokesperson sounds familiar:

“We have consistently demonstrated that the company is committed to a diverse workplace that is free from all forms of discrimination, takes any complaint of discrimination seriously, and in these particular matters took prompt, effective and, where necessary, strong remedial action.”

It’s the same tune, just a different day.

Earlier this month, Bill Shine resigned from his position as co-president of Fox News. Several of the network’s current sexual misconduct and racial discrimination scandals name Shine for allegedly covering up the wrongdoing of alleged harassers, including the late former chairman Roger E. Ailes.

Changes in the station’s executive leadership continue to offer more of the same. Suzanne Scott, executive vice president of programming, who was promoted to head of Fox News’ programming, is mentioned in a lawsuit for enabling and concealing Ailes’ behavior.

Jack Abernethy remains co-president of Fox News and chief executive of Fox Television stations, and Jay Wallace has been similarly promoted to head of news. Both started with the company in 1996 along with Shine and Ailes. And, Abernathy has been accused in lawsuits against the news channel for intimidating staff.

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