Racial discrimination lawsuits filed against Fox News and its parent company 21st Century Fox now have 13 plaintiffs after employees claim they were subjected to “plantation-style management than a modern-day work environment” by their white colleagues.
Fox News anchor Kelly Wright claimed he was forced to endure racist comments as the news outlet tried to re-imagine him as Jim Crow.
Wright joined the network in 2003 and co-hosted “Fox & Friends” and currently co-hosts "America’s News Headquarters." During the weekend, he alleged he was “effectively sidelined” and forced to endure many racist comments” at Fox which were “intended to paint [him] as a caricature of a black entertainer — i.e., a Jim Crow.”
Wright named the recently fired Bill O’Reilly as one of the people who harassed him. The suit alleges that Wright was spurned from “The O’Reilly Factor” after he asked to show a series of segments on African-American community. According to the lawsuit, O’Reilly refused his proposal claiming “it showed blacks in 'too positive' a light."
He was then told he should call Roger Ailes and “offer to sing the national anthem at Fox News Town Halls” to entertain the CEO.
“Rather than viewing Mr. Wright as the two-time Emmy Award recipient he is, O'Reilly saw Mr. Wright as an entertainer and utility player,” claimed the lawsuit.
The Fox News host also said co-president Bill Shine showed an “obsession with race” and regularly asked Wright “’how do black people react to you?' and 'how do you think white viewers look at you?'"
He also said when he complained about being sidelined from “The Factor” by specifically telling senior officials Fox is “too blonde and too white,” no action was taken to remedy the blatant discrimination.
A Bangladeshi employee, Musfiq Rahman, also filed a complaint stating Ailes treated him like a “terrorist” after he accidently walked into the former CEO’S office.
“The fallout for Mr. Rahman's ‘mistake’ was swift and severe,” the complaint says. “Ailes was furious and his paranoia about being attacked came to the forefront.” The very same day he ordered a “barrier wall” be built outside his office to prevent “dark-skinned” male employees that could be “mistaken for being of Middle-Eastern descent” from entering the room unannounced. Ailes reportedly believed he was a target of an assassination by Al-Qaida.
The following day, Rahman and a “number of black employees in the Accounts Receivable and Accounts Payable Departments” had their passes to the passes to the second floor canceled.
“Thereafter, these humiliated employees were forced to get ‘escorts’ when they needed to speak to other employees on the second floor,” the suit claims.
Douglas Wigdor and Jeanne Christensen, the attorneys representing all 13 plaintiffs stated 21st Century Fox “should be called 18th Century Fox" for its alleged discrimination.
"We sincerely hope the filing of this race class action wakes 21st Century Fox from its slumbers and inspires the company to take a conciliatory and appropriate approach to remedy its wrongs," the attorneys added.
Unsurprisingly, Fox News has denied the allegations, calling the claims “copycat.”
“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,” said the spokesman.
Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters