Three More People Have Sued Fox News For Racial Or Gender Discrimination
Fox News was hit with three lawsuits Monday alleging acts of gender and racial discrimination.
Fox News was hit with three more lawsuits Monday alleging acts of gender and racial discrimination — including allegations the network's management fired a woman after she announced her pregnancy.
The lawsuits come as the embattled network scrambles to repair its image after a slew of complaints alleging sexual harassment and racial discrimination. Last month, Fox News anchor and reporter Kelly Wright and 15 other current and former employees sued the cable news network, claiming they endured repeated racial discrimination and harassment for years while top executives ignored their complaints.
"It has, and continues to be, our hope that 21st Century Fox will recognize its failures and take prompt remedial action to ensure that other employees are not discriminated against, harassed, and/or retaliated," attorney Doug Wigdor, who now represents 23 current and former Fox News employees, said in a statement. "If they do not do so voluntarily, we will continue to pursue all available remedies to ensure that they are compelled to do so."
Kathleen Lee worked at Fox News Radio for more than a decade, according to the complaint. In 2013 Lee reported anchor Ron Flatter's alleged sexual harassment to the top executives at Fox News Radio.
According to the complaint, Flatter would refer to a female anchor as the "Title IX Anchor," Hillary Clinton as "Hillary Clit-on," and openly call females — including Lee — "sluts and whores."
Flatter would also mock Lee, who has a physical disability, by calling her "invalid."
According to the complaint, Lee reported the harassment to her supervisors on multiple occasions and was told to "deal with it."
"Once Flatter knew that Ms. Lee had complained about his behavior
to his superiors, his vitriol was unmerciful," the complaint read.
In July 2015, after a night where Flatter screamed at Lee in the newsroom and coworkers had to intervene to get Flatter away from Lee, Fox informed Lee that Flatter was leaving.
The following week, according to the complaint, Lee's supervisor called her in his office and asked "Are you happy now? Will you stop causing problems now?"
"Female employees at Fox have a problem," the complaint reads. "When they are subjected to sexual harassment and discrimination, Fox does nothing to curb the unlawful behavior. Worse, when female employees dare to report such conduct, Fox victimizes them a second time — by subjecting them to escalated sex bias, retaliation, or both."
Naima Farrow worked as an accounts payable coordinator at Fox News for more than a year, but "despite her impeccable performance," she was fired less than three days after telling her supervisor she was pregnant.
The complaint alleges that Farrow, who is black, was also subject to a racially hostile environment in the hands of controller Judith Slater — who allegedly discriminated against 15 other former and current black Fox News employees.
According to the complaint, Slater would refer to Farrow as "'girlfriend' in a mocking and stereotypical impersonation of a black woman."
Catherine M. Foti, an attorney for Slater, said in a statement that "all claims of racial discrimination against Ms. Slater are completely false."
The third complaint was filed by Vidya Mann, who was hired by Fox as an accounts receivables specialist in 2009 through an agency and was therefore not a permanent Fox employee, despite her saying she did the exact same work as other employees in the department.
The complaint alleges that after two years of working at Fox, Mann, who is Guyanese, asked to be promoted to a permanent position. Slater denied the request, according to the complaint, and gave the job to a white employee who was an intern in the accounting department.
Mann was present and heard Slater's "racist vitriol," including her allegedly publicly ridiculing black employees' "accents" and mocking a woman for her breast cancer treatment.
According to the complaint, Fox terminated Mann's employment after she got pregnant and gave birth to her child.
"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," a Fox News spokesperson said in a statement. "We believe these latest claims are without legal basis and look forward to proving that the Company at all times has acted appropriately, and lawfully, in connection with these matters."
Fox News has insisted that it fired Slater after learning of the allegations against her, though the plaintiffs' lawyers have questioned that defense.
Wigdor is also representing the black IT employee whose complaints about Bob Beckel's racist remarks led to the Fox News anchor's termination last week. The IT employee has not yet taken legal action.