The Slatest

Fox News Hit With New Class Action Lawsuit Alleging Widespread Racial Discrimination

Fox And Friends broadcasts on Feb. 17 in New York City.

Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Bill O’Reilly might be gone, but Fox News got a fresh round of workplace trouble on Tuesday, when 11 current and former employees, including a black anchor and reporter, filed a class action suit against the network alleging “abhorrent, intolerable, unlawful and hostile racial discrimination.” The suit, which was initially filed by two black employees in March, is based on accusations of outlandishly racist behavior by company comptroller Judith Slater, as well as the company’s alleged failure to address repeated employee complaints before Slater was fired in February. The suit contends top Fox News lawyer Dianne Brandi knew of the racist allegations made against Slater as far back as 2008.

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From the New York Times:

In the class-action lawsuit—which names Ms. Slater, Ms. Brandi, Fox News and 21st Century Fox as defendants — the 11 current and former employees said that Ms. Brandi and Denise Collins, a human resources executive at Fox News, were aware of complaints about Ms. Slater’s racist behavior but told black employees that “nothing could be done because Slater knew too much about senior executives,” including Roger E. Ailes, the company’s former chief executive; Mark Kranz, the chief financial officer; and Mr. O’Reilly…

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Among the plaintiffs is Kelly Wright, a current Fox News anchor and former co-host of “Fox & Friends Weekend.” He said Mr. O’Reilly refused to allow him on his show to discuss racial conciliation and instead suggested he should call Mr. Ailes and Bill Shine, one of the network’s presidents, and “offer to sing the national anthem at the Fox News Town Halls,” according to the suit. The suit also contends that Ms. Slater demanded that minority employees arm-wrestle white female supervisors for her own “entertainment and amusement.”

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The charges of racism are both institutional and specific, citing not just Bill O’Reilly’s behavior, but former network chief Roger Ailes. Slater, Brandi, and the network have denied the charges, but Fox News’ culture continues to be under assault, portrayed as a workplace rife with sexist and racist behavior from some of its biggest names down to the rank-and-file.

Update, April 26, 2017: “FOX News and Dianne Brandi vehemently deny the race discrimination claims in both lawsuits,” a Fox News spokesperson said in a statement. “They are copycat complaints of the original one filed last month. We will vigorously defend these cases.”

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