It looks like sexism is not the only issue plaguing Fox News.
Following a string of sexual abuse and harassment lawsuits, which resulted in former Chairman and CEO Roger Ailes being ousted from the company, the conservative news network is facing another set of allegations — though this time, they are slightly different (though equally disturbing) in nature.
As The New York Times reports, two African-American women are suing Fox News for workplace discrimination and “top-down racial harassment.” The plaintiffs, Tichaona Brown and Tabrese Wright, worked as payroll manager and payroll coordinator, respectively.
They claim the company’s longtime comptroller, Judith Slater, verbally abused them.
For instance, according to the lawsuit filed in the State Supreme Court in Bronx, Slater asked Wright if all three of her children had the same biological father. In another incident, the same employee asked Brown to say words like “mother,” “father,” “month” and “ask” aloud in front of others during a company meeting, insisting African Americans cannot pronounce such terms properly.
Slater also allegedly suggested black men physically abuse women and all African Americans want to harm white people, made disparaging comments about the Black Lives Matter movement and referred to the majority-black payroll subdivision as the “urban” or “Southern” department.
After the overtly racist and sexist comment Fox News host Bill O’Reilly recently made against senior African-American California Rep. Maxine Waters, this alleged discriminatory behavior does not come as much of a surprise.
In fact, it offers a much-needed glimpse inside what appears to be a racially charged and hostile working environment.
“We are confident that the good men and women of the Bronx will hold Fox accountable for what we believe to be its abhorrent racist conduct, reminiscent of the Jim Crow era,” said the law firm representing Brown and Wright in a statement.
The lawsuit also contended the plaintiffs informed their superiors about these incidents, but very little was done to address or fix the situation.
A day before the two women filed the complaint, Fox transferred Wright to another department — a move she described as demotion. As for Brown, who joined the network in 2008, the company said she was still employed but the suit asserted she was fired.
Both women have refused to accept a settlement offer.
Meanwhile, Fox News claimed it fired Slater after learning of her misconduct.
“We take complaints of this nature very seriously and took prompt and effective remedial action before Ms. Brown and Ms. Wright sued in court and even before Ms. Wright complained through her lawyer,” stated the company. “There is no place for inappropriate verbal remarks like this at Fox News. We are disappointed that this needless litigation has been filed.”
In a somewhat similar incident not too long ago, Fox News host Tucker Carlson made headlines for calling a Latino Univision reporter, Jorge Ramos, “whiter” because he had blue eyes.
Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters, Shannon Stapleton