Bill O’Reilly and Fox News Sued for Defaming Women it Had Settled With For Sexual Harassment and Other Claims

Andrea Mackris and Rebecca Gomez Diamond have joined forces to sue Bill O’Reilly and Fox News for defamation and breach of contract after the network reportedly depicted them as liars and politically motivated extortionists following their sexual harassment allegations. Here is what we know about the latest case against O’Reilly and the network that made him famous: 

1/ Andrea Mackris worked as O’Reilly’s producer in the early 2000s. In 2004, Mackris sued him for sexual harassment. 

2/ Rebecca Gomez Diamond worked as a host on Fox Business Network. In 2011, she reached a settlement with O’Reilly following sexual harassment claims against him. 

3/ Both Mackris and Diamond recorded conversations with O’Reilly. As a result, both women were given settlements. 

4/ The women allege that Rupert Murdoch, the executive chairman of 21st Century Fox, “disparaged and defamed” them. Murdoch dismissed the “bad cases” as a “bit of flirting” despite knowing that the women had substantial and valid claims against O’Reilly. 

5/ O’Reilly repeatedly claims that these allegations have no merit and that the only reason he agreed to settling with his accusers was to “protect his children.”

6/ Bill O’Reilly has 6 publicly known settlements that total about $45 million. 

7/ Mackris and Diamond joined the lawsuit that Rachel Bernstein, a former Fox News employee, filed against O’Reilly. Though Bernstein’s allegations weren’t sexual in nature, they did involve O’Reilly’s behavior. 

8/ All of the women have signed non-disclosure agreements.

The women are currently seeking release from their confidentiality agreements, an apology from O’Reilly, Fox News and Murdoch, an admission from the network that they did indeed have substantial evidence against O’Reilly, and compensation for legal fees, reputation damage, and emotional harm. 

Do you think signing non-disclosure agreements following settlements should be banned?  Is it fair for the employer/harasser to say the case was frivolous after it settled, while the employee can’t say anything?

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Another Fox News Anchor Accused of Sexual Harassment—Sending Penis Pictures

More bad news for Fox News. According to a Huffington Post report, co-host of The Fox News Specialists and Cashin’ In, Eric Bolling, was suspended from the network for sending unsolicited “dick pics” to at least two of his female colleagues. One of the recipients of the offensive image replied to Bolling asking her never to send her photos again. He allegedly did not respond. Four people (aside from the two accusers) claim to have seen the photo, and eight others claim to have known about it. 

According to Bolling’s attorney, however, Bolling denies that any such communication took place.

Bolling, an avid Trump supporter, has a history of making misogynistic comments on air. When talking about the first woman fighter pilot from the United Arab Emirates, Bolling asked if it would be more appropriate to say “boobs on the ground” instead of the common phrase “boots on the crowd.” But that’s not all…

Hours after the network released news of Eric Bolling’s suspension following sexual harassment allegations, a new accuser came forward. Caroline Heldman claims that Bolling (along with two other Fox News employees) sexually harassed her between 2008 and 2011. Heldman, a frequent guest on the network, made a post on her Facebook page saying how surprised she was that it took people so long to come forward about Bolling’s years of lewd behavior. Here is a summary of her allegations:

1. Heldman claims she was also sexually harassed by Bill O’Reilly, a former Fox News host, and Woody Fraser, a former Fox News consultant.

2. Feldman claims that Bolling referred to her as Dr. McHottie on air four different times. In addition, he also called her smart, beautiful, and wrong on air.

3. Heldman claims that Bolling would contact her after the shows to apologize for his behavior, to invite her to New York for ‘fun”, or to invite her to dinner. She always declined.

4. Heldman alleges that Bolling took her to his office one time to show her his jerseys. While they were there, he told her it was his favorite place to have sex.

5. Feldman encourages the lawyers who are currently investigating the case to contact makeup artists. Though many of the contracted makeup artists see and hear a lot, and may even be subject to frequent sexual harassment from hosts and guests, many don’t come forward because they fear of not being hired again.  

Can you think of a more extreme example where sexual harassment at a workplace is more prevalent?  Doesn’t this show how important it is to stop any potential sexual harassment early on before the culture spreads in an organization?

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Fox News Now Sued By 3 Women for Race Discrimination And More

Once again, the Fox News network has made headlines for illegally treating its employees. Last year we reported on a plethora of sexual harassment claims tied to upper executives at the network. This year, “racial discrimination” can be added to this list of offenses. Two black women, Tichanoa Brown, and Tables Wright, are accusing the Fox News payroll department’s comptroller, Judith Slater, of “top-down racial harassment.”

Here is what we know about the allegations:

  1. Slater repeatedly made inappropriate and racially motivated comments in front of the women. She made statements implying that all black men beat women and that black people wanted to act violently towards white people.
  2. Slater told the two women that they incorrectly pronounced certain words, such as “mother” and “father” and then encouraged them to say these specific words during important meetings.
  3. Slater asked one of the women if her three children all had the same father.
  4. Slater allegedly made condescending comments about Wright’s hair and credit score, the Black Lives Movement, and referred to the entire (mostly black) payroll department as “urban”, and “southern”.
  5. When Wright confronted Slater about her inappropriate behavior, she was transferred out of the payroll department. Though the company claims this was a lateral move, the suit suggests it was a demotion, and therefore, retaliation.

Brown and Wright are not only suing Slater, but also Fox News and 21st Century Fox. They feel that Slater did nothing to correct her inappropriate behavior which then created a hostile work environment for the women, behavior that the plaintiff’s lawyers compare to those “reminiscent of the Jim Crow era”.

Just recently, a third plaintiff has come forward alleging similar racial and discriminatory claims against the network and lead executives. Monica Douglas, black, was the manager for the collections department. She has amended the complaint that Wright and Brown made against Slater, listing an array of inappropriate behavior including inappropriately rubbing her hair, kicking her butt while walking in the hall, teasing her for having cancer, and even calling her the ‘one boobed girl’ after her mastectomy. Douglas alleges that her supervisors knew about the behavior for years yet did nothing to stop it.

Though Slater was fired on February 28th, before the complaints were made public, the three women are still seeking legal justice.

Do you think the recent lawsuits against Fox News have empowered others to move forward against them too?

*image by Samantha Sophia

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Even More Sexual Harassment Allegations Against Former Fox News Chairman Alies

The nightmare for former Fox News CEO Roger Ailes, is still not over. New sexual harassment accusations against Ailes have recently surfaced, nearly six months after Fox paid out $20 million to settle one sexual harassment case. Curanaj’s suit is not against Ailes or Fox News, but against the New York Fox TV Station she worked for. Curanaj is alleging gender, age, race and pregnancy discrimination.

Here is what we know about the recent complaint:

  1. Lidia Curanaj alleges that Ailes offered her an interview to join the Fox News Network after meeting in 2011. 
  2. Ailes offered Curanaj a private interview after completing her group interview. 
  3. Ailes told her to stand up and turn around for him, claiming that it was important for females in the industry to look good. 
  4. Ailes allegedly asked someone from Curanaj’s past if she “put out.” When the man told her that she probably wouldn’t, Curanaj did not get the job. 
  5. After Curanaj was denied the promotion, she complained to the station’s news director. It was then that he told her she wasn’t pretty enough to be on the air.

Though Ailes’ attorney couldn’t be reached, a spokesperson for Fox TV Stations released a statement alleging that Curanaj’s claims lack merit. More than two dozen women have come forth alleging sexual harassment against Ailes including former anchor Gretchen Carlson.

What do you think of all these allegations?

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Fox Sued Again by Anchor—Age and Gender Discrimination

Fox News just can’t catch a break. At the same time that the sexual harassment allegations were being filed against former CEO of Fox News, Roger Ailes, a separate age and discrimination suit was being filed against the empire. Fox Sports reporter Colleen Dominguez, 54, claimed the younger, less qualified co-workers were repeatedly given assignments instead of her. Some other examples of discrimination Dominguez faced while working for Fox includes: 

  1. Management asked a producer to make a video of Dominguez’s face and body for a meeting. Other reporters were never asked to do this. 
  2. A supervisor told Dominguez that the network didn’t handle “veteran female reporters very well”.
  3. Via text message, a long standing Fox producer told Dominguez that she had’t done anything wrong at all and that just because the male executives at the company wanted to be “gratified by a 24 year old woman” didn’t mean that Dominguez was bad at her job.

The network has denied the claims and has a motion to dismiss the case completely. They claim that Dominguez’s assignment deficit was due to a shift in programming, not her physical appearance or age. US District Court judge Ronald Lew, denied the motion to dismiss her case and will let Dominguez continue her suit. Dominguez’s lawyers have reason to believe that her emails and text message will help support her claims. In addition, they are seeking testimony from upper level executives at the company such as the head of Fox Sports’ national networks, president and chief operating officer of Fox Sports, and the former chairmen of Fox Sports. 

Do you think that the harassment/discrimination allegations suddenly coming out of the woodwork have merit? Or do you think that people are more concerned with riding the gravy train?

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Fox News Settles with Gretchen Carlson for $20 Million and Issues Formal Public Apology

Gretchen Carlson, the former Fox News Channel anchor who sued Fox News and former CEO Roger Ailes for sexual harassment, recently settled her case. Though the amount wasn’t announced publicly, someone who is familiar with the case anonymously reported that Carlson walked away with $20 million as well as an apology from the Fox Parent Company, 21st Century; “We regret and apologize for the fact that Gretchen was not treated with the respect and dignity that she and all of our colleagues deserve.”

Carlson’s case opened a can of sexual harassment worms against Ailes which eventually led to him resigning from his position (and swiftly collecting a $40 million severance in the process.) Want to read about another sexual harassment case against Ailes that is still pending? Click here.

Is it safe to assume a $20 million payment and a formal public apology is Fox News admitting Carlson was in fact illegally sexually harassed?

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Another Fox News Sexual Harassment and Retaliation Lawsuit: Andrea Tantaros

Andrea Tantaros, a broadcaster for Fox News, has joined the ranks of other females alleging that former CEO Roger Ailes and other Fox execs either participated or condoned sexual harassment in the workplace. In her lawsuit, Tantaros claims that the network which projects family values on air, is actually run more like a “sex-fueled, Playboy Mansion-like cult, steeped in intimidation, indecency, and misogyny.”

Earlier this year we reported on the Gretchen Carlson case against Ailes. Though Ailes denies Carlson’s ongoing allegations, he stepped down from his position at Fox News back in July, and proceeded to walk away with a $40 million severance package in the process. Following Carlson’s claims, several other female employees, including Megan Kelly, have come forth with similar tales of sexual harassment.

Tantaros claims that Ailes allegedly exhibited the following inappropriate behavior towards her:

  1. Asked her for a hug
  2. Told her to turn around so that he could get a good look at her.
  3. Told her that she would look good in a bikini. 
  4. Asked her about the private sexual lives of her fellow colleagues.

When Tantaros complained to senior Fox executives including co-president, Bill Shine, and members of the general counsel, Suzanne Scott and Dianne Brandi, she was told to let it go. The reason? Because Ailes was a “very powerful man.” When management got word of Ms. Tantaros’ complaints, they retaliated by taking her off the air. Tantaros lawsuit not only names Ailes as a culprit, but also the senior lieutenants who condoned his behavior. In the lawsuit, Tantaros also claims (among others) that Bill O’Reilly, host of The O’Reilly Factor, sexually harassed her by inviting her to stay with him and making sexually charged comments.

What do you think of this wave of sexual harassment claims by former and current Fox News employees?

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Donald Trump Says Sexual Harassment Victims Should Just Find Another Job

Donald Trump recently responded to the allegations piling up against his friend and the former CEO of Fox News, Roger Ailes. Last month we wrote about how Ailes was being sued for allegedly sexually harassing the former host of Fox & Friends, Gretchen Carlson. Since then, many more women have come forth alleging similar abuse including Laurie Luhn, a Fox News talent booker who claims Ailes sexually harassed her for 20 years and Laurie Dhue, a Fox News reporter, who alleges Ailes once asked her if she was wearing underwear. 

Because of these allegations, Ailes resigned from his role as chairman and CEO on July 21, 2016 and then promptly received a $40 million severance package.

Chuck Todd, a journalist for NBC’s Meet the Press,recently interviewed Trump and asked him about the allegations against his friend, Roger Ailes. Trump summed up the allegations by saying that some women were complaining and saying horrible things about their former supervisor, despite the fact that he had helped them throughout their careers. 

When Chuck Todd, asked Donald Trump what he thought his daughter Ivanka should do if she was sexually harassed by an employer, Trump gave this clever answer “I would like to think she would find another career or find another company.”

So let’s get this straight. Trump believes that if a woman is sexually harassed in the workplace that she should quit her job or end her career, and that the supervisor is allowed to sexually harass his subordinates if he also helps them?

What do you think?

*image by Gage Skidmore, Flickr

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