New sexual harassment and racial discrimination lawsuits are rocking the already scandal riddled Fox News Channel.
Three new lawsuits were filed Monday in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. Two allege racial harassment at Fox News, while a third alleges sexual harassment at Fox News Radio.
The cases increase to 23 the number of past or present Fox employees represented by attorney Doug Wigdor, the majority having cases alleging racial hostility by a since-fired financial executive. Fox said Monday that the lawsuits have no legal basis.
Kathleen Lee, a Fox News Radio employee of more than 10 years, alleges that radio anchor Ron Flatter subjected her to “unrelenting sexual harassment” after the network hired him in 2013.
A former Fox employee, Adasa Blanco, said she alerted Fox executives about racially hostile behavior on the part of former Fox controller Judith Slater more than eight years before the executive was let go. Slater has denied charges of racially hostile conduct. Blanco, who is Hispanic, said that Slater made fun of her accent.
In the lawsuit, Wigdor said Fox “knowingly harbored and protected” a racist employee for more than eight years and misrepresented to the public that it fired Slater quickly upon learning of her behavior.
Naima Farrow, another former Fox employee who worked for Slater, said she was fired without warning or explanation in 2015, less than three days after telling superiors she was pregnant. Farrow, who is black, said Slater mockingly referred to her as “girlfriend.”
Fox News said in a statement that it is committed to a diverse workplace free from discrimination, and takes any complaint seriously. In these cases, Fox “took prompt, effective and, when necessary, strong remedial action,” the network said. “We believe these latest claims are without legal basis and look forward to proving that the company at all times has acted appropriately, and lawfully, in connection with these matters.”
The new legal claims come as Fox News is battling a series of lawsuits that led to the resignations of former chief executive Roger Ailes, who died last week, star anchor Bill O'Reilly and network co-president Bill Shine.
Wigdor said he also is representing an unidentified black information technology employee who was subjected to racially insensitive remarks by Bob Beckel, an on-air host who was fired last week, days after the worker complained.