Published On: Mon, Jul 31st, 2017

Could Fox News Go Under Due To All Their Legal Problems?

If there seems to be a mass exodus at the Fox News Channel lately and there is a reason for it. The recent firing of Bill O’Reilly amidst allegations of sexual harassment is just one of the many incidents that have affected major players at the channel. From sexual harassment suits by several women against Roger Ailes and now the allegations of Sean Hannity being “creepy,” many are wondering if the channel can survive all the turnover and losing their prime-time greats.

Photo/Nodar Kherkheulidze via wikimedia commons

A total reorganization might be in order as Fox tries to move people around, introduce new spokespeople, and fight the many lawsuits being filed against them. As if their problems weren’t already great enough, a growing tide might be set to topple them yet again. Sources are leaking that next week, as many as seven or more African-American Fox News employees might join forces to sue the network for racial discrimination. The suit, already in the works by two former employees, might be about to explode.

Comptroller Judy Slater was the person behind the original suit against Fox for racial discrimination. The suit alleges that Slater, one of Fox’s payroll employers, had racial epithets and slurs hurled at her for the many years she was employed at Fox. Slater was fired last February due to the allegations and the lawsuit against the network.

Those trial lawyers representing the suit against Slater insist that another employee by the name of Tammy Efinger be dismissed as well because she tolerated and was witness to the behavior, yet did nothing to stop it. Not accused of vocalizing any racial slurs herself, the allegations are that she stood by and didn’t stop it while it was going on.

The allegations insist that Slater pitted the white women against the black to “fight” for her own entertainment, just down the hall from Ailes’ office.

The new pending claims maintain that perpetual racial discrimination was organization-wide and that although both legal and Human Resources were made aware of the complaints, no one was held accountable or even reprimanded. It was an entire systematic environment of racial inequities; it apparently wasn’t just people of a certain gender that were made to feel uncomfortable.

Bill Shine, the co-president of Fox News, stepped down this week amidst criticism of his handling of women who filed complaints. As Shine played an instrumental role in Fox News’ rise to its highest ratings in history and the creation of shows like “The Factor,” it was a harsh blow to the company. And many are wondering if the network can survive the scandals and the enormous economic hardship that is likely to befall the corporation and those who stood around and did nothing to address organizational issues.

Just this past Monday, reporter Diana Falzone stepped forward to file a suit claiming that she was struggling with endometriosis and infertility. Once her story went live, her supervisors and executives at Fox News banned her from appearing on any Fox Business Network, FoxNews.com or any Fox News Network. She alleges that she was never again allowed to host shows or to do any interviews. The demotion was never given cause; she was just called to the office and told that she should look for another job.

The settlement with Gretchen Carlson, the first of many settlements, not only cost the network $20 million, it also unleashed the wrath of many reporters, workers, and other news personnel who came forward to tell their story of mistreatment.

Whether Fox can ride out the storm, restore their reputation, and fight their way back to the top by finding replacements is a long shot. What is even more questionable is if the corporation can afford the massive number of lawsuits that are at their front door — with even more soon to follow. Where there is smoke there is fire, and who knows if anyone can put out the fire that is taking down the network in one fell swoop.

Author: Ben Obirek

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