After a multimillion-dollar payout for Bill O’Reilly rocked Fox News Channel in recent days, former The Five contributor Julie Roginsky is now suing the cable newser, its ex-CEO Roger Ailes and current management for sexual harassment and retaliation for not attacking Gretchen Carlson’s lawsuit last year.
Fittingly, political consultant Roginsky is represented by Nancy Erika Smith, the same lawyer who represented Carlson in her successful action that saw the resignation of Ailes and a $20 million settlement for the ex-Fox & Friends co-host.
“Fox News and Ailes discriminated against Roginsky on the basis of her gender by making her deserved promotion to a regular spot hosting The Five contingent on having a sexual relationship with Ailes,” alleges the complaint filed today in New York Supreme Court. “Fox News and Ailes thereafter retaliated against Plaintiff when she refused to have a sexual relationship with Ailes,” adds the complaint, which seeks unspecified damages. “Fox News and [Bill] Shine further retaliated against Plaintiff by refusing to give her the promised permanent hosting position for which she was well-qualified. Defendants Fox News and Shine retaliated against Plaintiff also because she refused to publicly disparage Gretchen Carlson when Carlson filed sexual harassment claims against Ailes. Roginsky let it be known that she believed Carlson because Ailes had similarly harassed and retaliated against her, saying, “It happened to me.”
Shine is a longtime colleague of Ailes and was named co-President of Fox News when Ailes was pushed aside by Rupert Murdoch and his sons last summer.
Fox News did not respond to request for comment on Roginsky’s lawsuit.
In the suit, Roginsky describes meetings during which Ailes repeatedly made unwanted sexual advances, including stating that she should engage in sexual relationships with “older, married, conservative men” because “they may stray but they always come back because they’re loyal” and that loyalty was a “two-way street.” The political consultant also alleges that Ailes repeatedly insisted on a kiss “hello” but would not get out of his chair, using the occasion of Roginsky bending over to look down her dress. At these meetings Ailes also made crude sexual comments about other female on-air talent, the complaint says.
It adds that Roginsky was retaliated against for refusing Ailes’ sexual advances, including being denied a promised permanent hosting position on The Five and segment-hosting opportunities on FNC’s Outnumbered. After she rejected Ailes’ most direct sexual advance, the exec refused ever to meet with her again, the complaint adds.
Roginsky is seeking, among other things, compensatory and punitive damages. Along with Smith and Neil Mullin, of Smith Mullin in Montclair, NJ, the plaintiff also is represented by Martin Hyman and Matthew Daly of Golenbock Eiseman Assor Bell & Peskoe LLP in New York.
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