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Fox News Can’t Catch A Break — Another Lawsuit Emerges

— April 28, 2017

Fox News Can’t Catch A Break — Another Lawsuit Emerges

Fox News just can’t catch a break.  Kelly Wright, an African American reporter and anchor, who has been with the network since 2003, claims he “has been effectively sidelined and asked to perform the role of a ‘Jim Crow’ — the racist caricature of a Black entertainer” by his superiors, including recently terminated Fox News host Bill O’Reilly and the current co-president of the network Bill Shine.  Wright is one of 13 plaintiffs in a recently filed lawsuit against the network.  All plaintiffs are either current or former Fox News employees suing for racial discrimination.  

Kelly Wright Joins 12 Others In Lawsuit Against Fox News
Image Courtesy of CBS News

The legal affairs began last month after two African American women, Tabrese Wright and Tichaona Brown, filed suit claiming they faced “top-down racial harassment” from Fox’s former comptroller Judith Slater, and their has been no break in the lawsuit train since. The women accused Slater of making a whole slew of racially discriminatory remarks.

Updated statement: “The incendiary language by Attorney Wigdor raising the shameful period of Jim Crow and plantations is outrageous and draws a comparison that demeans the atrocities committed during those times. These frivolous charges are solely aimed at generating headlines, inflaming racial tensions and poisoning potential jury pools and judges,” said Catherine M. Foti, attorney for Judith Slater, and a Principal of Morvillo Abramowitz Grand Iason & Anello P.C.

Slater joins O’Reilly in being terminated on February 28th after the allegations were made public.  However, the lawyers for the 13 plaintiffs in the suit say Fox’s claims it acted in a timely manner are “completely false.”

A separate complaint issued on Tuesday, April 25th, on behalf of plaintiff Adasa Blanco, a former senior disbursement coordinator at the network, states that “Slater was terminated because Fox knew this would become a public matter and wanted to salvage its reputation.”  Blanco says that Slater ignored her complaints and is seeking remedy in her lawsuit, which is directed at Dianne Brandi, Fox’s top attorney, for “substantial monetary damages and severe mental anguish and emotional distress.”  

Kelly Wright alleges he was shunned from The O’Reilly Factor, which has since been cancelled and that Shine “has demonstrated an obsession with race when it comes to discussions with Mr. Wright, including regularly asking him ‘how do black people react to you’ and ‘how do you think White viewers look at you?'” Wright also says his efforts to highlight a series designed to showcase positive stories about the African American community on the Factor was shot down because “it showed Blacks in ‘too positive’ a light.”

Fox News can't catch a break with regard to litigation
Image Courtesy of Fox News Channel

Musfiq Rahman also joins the lawsuit with allegations of racial discrimination.  Rahman worked in Fox’s payroll department, and claims he “suffered unconscionable and unrelenting race discrimination”.  The complaint says of an incident in which Rahman accidentally entered the office of former Fox News chairman Roger Ailes, “The fallout for Mr. Rahman’s ‘mistake’ was swift and severe.  Ailes was furious and his paranoia about being attacked came to the forefront.  That same day, Ailes ordered that a wall be constructed immediately in his personal office to act as a barrier to entry.”  The complaint goes on to state that the following day “a number of  Black employees in the Accounts Receivable and Accounts Payable Departments, had their security passes to the second floor revoked.”

Fox denies all pending allegations, and a spokesperson has stated “Fox News and Dianne Brandi vehemently deny the race discrimination claims in both lawsuits.  They are copycat complaints of the original one filed last month.  We will vigorously defend these cases.”


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