On the same day UK regulators met with a U.S. lawyer who wants to stop 21st Century Fox’s purchase of Sky, and a potential class action racial discrimination suit against Fox News Channel added two more plaintiffs, Rupert Murdoch is saying everything is roses.
Murdoch told the BBC on Monday in New York that “nothing is happening at Fox News,” when asked about how the lawsuits plus other less-than-flattering situations at the outlet could effect the recommendation on the $14.4 billion bid for the pay-TV giant expected from UK media regulator Ofcam on June 20.
“Fox News is getting record ratings, so I’m not worried at all,” Murdoch said to a reporter from the UK public broadcaster as the media mogul got into his car, and making remarks about how the BBC should be worried.
Less than two weeks after the last filing in the matter April 25, a second amended complaint in New York Supreme Court on Monday saw Claudine McLeod and Elizabeth Fernandez join the racial discrimination suit. A Fox News employee since 2007, the former still works at the outlet in the Accounts Payable department, while the latter left the division in 2014. Among other allegations, the new complaint (read it here) claims that ex-FNC Comptroller and co-defendant Judith Slater made “numerous disparaging remarks about Ms. McLeod’s Panamanian heritage.” Among other issues, Slater supposedly told Fernandez that “I don’t like Spanish people’s food, you guys like eating pig feet, chicken feet, pig tongue and cow tail I wouldn’t even feed my dogs your food; Liz, do you like pig feet?”
That brings the total number of current and former FNC employees alleging racial discrimination at the cable newser to 16 – so far. With executive exits, Bill O’Reilly canned, and the lawsuits piling up in recent weeks, not to mention the removal of long time head honcho Roger Ailes under a storm of sexual harassment claims and settlements last summer, FNC’s response today was to say that “FOX News terminated Judy Slater before a single lawsuit or any amended complaint was filed.”
Set to meet with Ofcam on May 11 in London, plaintiffs’ attorney Doug Wigdor certainly had something to say outside the filing.
“It is our collective hope that rather than reflexively denying these claims and declaring that they will be vigorously defended, 21st Century Fox will finally show some contrition, acknowledge it is at fault and issue an apology, and address the reality that these hard working men and women have been treated unlawfully,” the lawyer said in a statement Tuesday.
The UK regulator already met with one U.S. attorney and one women who says she was sexually harassed and the retaliated against by O’Reilly. Lisa Bloom told journos that she and Wendy Walsh “came to London to meet with Ofcom because we want the British regulator to understand the corporate governance failures at 21st Century Fox. Radio personality and O’Reilly Factor guest Walsh called for independent investigation into “the culture of sexual harassment” a FNC at an LA press conference on April 3. She claims an offer of a paid contributor position on the channel was yanked away after she rejected O’Reilly’s advances in 2013. “We both very strongly believe that Fox should not be allowed to take full ownership of Sky,” said Bloom today in London.
Should a company that tolerates rampant sexual harassment and retaliation get a giant media deal? We say no to 21CF. pic.twitter.com/DtKSJWPgwT
— Lisa Bloom (@LisaBloom) May 8, 2017
If derailed, this would be the second time the Murdochs had failed to gain total control of Sky. The first effort went down in flames in 2011 after the News of The World hacking scandal forced the then-20th Century Fox to scrap that deal.