- Thomson Reuters
A Fox News employee on Thursday sued 21st Century Fox, alleging she was fired after reporting instances of sexual harassment to the the law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, which is investigating claims of sexual harassment at the network.
In the lawsuit, attorneys from Wigdor Law said that Fox News Radio correspondent Jessica Golloher was “marginalized and subject to discrimination” based on her gender. The suit alleged she was fired after attempting to report harassment claims.
Golloher’s lawsuit named Fox News, 21st Century Fox, and Fox News Radio Vice President Mitch Davis and Director of Programming Hank Weinbloom as defendants in the case.
The Fox Radio correspondent claimed in the lawsuit that she was downgraded to “secretarial” status and forced to cover frivolous issues like the “panty protest” during the 2014 Sochi Olympics.
Further, the lawsuit alleged that Davis told Golloher to send him photos of her reporting for a piece, but said that photos she sent him were “horrible” and that she was “much better looking in person.” Davis was reportedly fired from a job at ABC two decades ago after sending a sexually explicit photo over his company computer network.
Before the case was filed, 21st Century Fox issued a statement to Deadline claiming that the allegations expected to be contained in the suit were “without merit.” On Thursday, it said: “Jessica Golloher’s claims are without merit. Her allegations of discrimination and retaliation are baseless. We will vigorously defend the matter.”
A source familiar with the matter said a lawyer from Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison reached out twice to Golloher, but did not receive a response. Further, the source said her contract was not renewed amid budget cutbacks that eliminated the Fox News Radio position at the network’s bureau in Jerusalem, where she was a correspondent.
The lawsuit is one in a series brought by Wigdor against the network in the wake of former host Bill O’Reilly’s departure from Fox following new allegations of past sexual harassment.
Eleven current and former employees sued Fox News in late April, alleging widespread instances of racial discrimination.
“I could no longer sit in silence, collect my paycheck, and act like I didn’t experience racial bias on my own level as an on-air personality,” Fox News anchor Kelly Wright told reporters in April, saying he was asked to be a “Jim Crow caricature” on air.
Fox has undergone a major shakeup in leadership that saw the departure of O’Reilly and former co-president Bill Shine. The network has not appeared to take a major ratings hit amid the turmoil.
Fox remained the top rated network last month, though ratings dipped slightly for MSNBC and Fox on a month-to-month basis for the first time since the 2016 presidential election.