There’s a report tonight that the federal government is expanding its investigation into allegations of sexual harassment at Fox News — and the word comes from a solid source: The Wall Street Journal, which is run by Rupert Murdoch, whose 21st Century Fox owns Fox News.
The paper says the feds have quizzed current and former Fox News staffers and on-air talent about the harassment claims and alleged intimidation tactics at the cable news net. Prosecutors at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan and criminal investigators from the U.S. Postal Inspection Service have talked with women who accused now-axed former FNC boss Roger Ailes,
WSJ said the probe has centered on how settlement payments over sexual-harassment accusations were structured at Fox News and which executives helped engineer them. But in their questioning, prosecutors also have shown an interest in alleged intimidation tactics authorized by Ailes, including the hiring of a private investigator to dig up negative information on women who complained, WSJ reports, citing a source.
The wide-ranging sexual-harassment allegations already have claimed three of Fox News’ most prominent figures: Ailes, former longtime The O’Reilly Factor host Bill O’Reilly and FNC co-President Bill Shine. The case was kicked into gear with a lawsuit by former Fox & Friends co-host Gretchen Carlson, who eventually settled her case for $20M. Other lawsuits have followed, including filings by Andrea Tantaros; including a second one last month; Julie Roginsky, who WSJ says has been interviewed by the feds; former on-air contributor Tamara Holder, who settled for $2.5M. And earlier today, Fox News and 21st Century Fox were hit with a discrimination suit by Fox News Radio Network’s Middle East/North Africa correspondent Jessica Golloher.