UPDATE, 10:49 AM: Hours after three Fox News Channel employees sued the cable newser anew today for racial discrimination, the outlet has responded that it has already taken action to partially remedy the situation with an executive firing last month.
“We take complaints of this nature very seriously and took prompt and effective remedial action in terminating Judy Slater before Ms. Brown, Ms. Wright and Ms. Douglas sued in court and even before Ms. Wright and Ms. Douglas complained through their lawyer,” a FNC spokesperson told Deadline on Tuesday. “There is no place for conduct like this at Fox News, which is why Ms. Slater was fired.”
PREVIOUSLY, 9:43 AM: “Flouting all responsibility to follow the laws designed to protect employees in these exact circumstances, Fox clearly sees itself as a company entitled to operate above and outside of the civil laws applicable to everyone else,” claims an amended complaint filed today against Fox News Channel by three African-American employees of the cable newser.
The wide raging damages seeking filing sees FNC’s manager for credit collector Monica Douglas joined the action initiated by Tichaona Brown and Tabrese Wright last month – and is another blow to the Rupert Murdoch owned channel in a week of repeated hits on the culture and environment of the once Roger Ailes run ratings blockbuster outlet
The new jury seeking filing in NY Supreme Court by comes a day after the much accused FNC was hit with another sexual harassment suit by an on-air contributor and demands for an independent investigation by a guest on The O’Reilly Factor, It also follows several advertisers jumping ship on the Bill O’Reilly hit because of reports of multi-million dollar settlements for sexual harassment allegations against the host over the years.
While aiming its fury on now pink slipped longtime comptroller Judy Slater for her “years-long relentless racial animus” and “the appalling discrimination which they suffered,” the new complaint from the expanded plaintiffs alleges permission for the “racially hostile work environment came from above – the very top actually.
“The racial animus described herein permeated the most hallowed halls of 1211 Avenue of the Americas, including on the infamous second floor where Plaintiffs worked alongside Roger Ailes, the former Chief Executive Officer (“CEO”), William Shine, Neil Cavuto, Mark Kranz, the former Chief Financial Officer (“CFO”), Sharri Berg, Suzanne Scott, Brian Jones and, now, Jack Abernathy,” says Tuesday’s detailed and situation specific filing (read it here). Shine and Abernathy were promoted to co-Presidents of FNC last summer when Ailes was pushed out by the Murdochs as claims of systematic sexual harassment by the ex-Richard Nixon aide from former Fox & Friends co-host Gretchen Carlson and others emerged. “While Fox executives were busy either participating in or looking the other way at the barrage of sexist, demeaning conduct hurled at its female employees, these same executives allowed this repugnant racial discrimination to go unchecked as well.”
Fox News did not respond to request for comment on the amended complaint. However, Douglas, Brown and Wright’s lawyers had more to say than just what was filed on Tuesday. “The allegations in the amended complaint make clear that Fox, at the highest levels, was on notice of Ms. Slater’s racist conduct for years and unfortunately did nothing about it,” said the trio’s attorneys Douglas Wigdor and Jeanne Christensen at Wigdor LLP t o Deadline today.
FNC is not alone the cable news universe in facing claims of racial discrimination. Rival CNN has been hit with two such suits in the past year, including one that recently was amended to be seek class action status.
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