Fox News doesn’t exactly have a reputation for being a trailblazer when it comes to its coverage of racial and gender-based discrimination, so it didn’t come as a complete surprise when allegations of harassment at the cable news source came to light.
Former Fox News CEO Roger Ailes has been accused of sexual harassment for a number of years, and the allegations haven’t stopped since he stepped down last summer. News contributor Julie Roginsky filed a suit with the New York Supreme Court in early April of this year. Last summer the Huffington Post reported that “The list of Ailes’ public and private accusers has grown to more than 20.” Add another to that list.
In addition to Ailes’ ails, “The New York Times has found a total of five women who have received payouts from either [Fox News personality Bill] O’Reilly or the company in exchange for agreeing to not pursue litigation or speak about their accusations against him. The agreements totaled about $13 million.”
Additionally, three black women have come out against the conservative news organization and specific members of management, accusing the institution of perpetuating a culture of discrimination. It turns out that white women aren’t always just the victims at Fox. One of the accused discriminators is Judith Slater, who worked in the upper levels of management of Fox for years.
Heavy revealed allegations from the lawsuit, reporting that Slater had been accused of saying that black employees “mispronounce the words ‘mother,’ ‘father’ and ‘month’ and ‘ask’ by pronouncing them as ‘muva,’ ‘fava,’ ‘monf,’ and ‘axe.’” Their article pointed out that the suit “Further stated that Slater ‘forced’ black employees to practice saying the words the correct way in front of white employees at Fox.”
Beyond that, Slater is accused of making fun of one of these employees who had had a mastectomy, calling her the “one-boobed girl” and “cancer girl.” Slater was finally fired in February.
Well, that’s Fox News. Strangely, none of this information is all that surprising. CNN on the other hand? Well, executives with the Atlanta-based news organization’s parent company are being accused of systemic discrimination as well.
“Although African-Americans make up about 30-35 percent of the employees in the mid-level managerial and staffing positions [at Time Warner], they are extremely under-represented at higher pay grades and senior positions,” Daniel Meachum, attorney for the class action lawsuit, told The Hollywood Reporter.
Meachum continued by noting, “African-American employees have had to endure racial slurs and prejudicial biases from their superiors such as, ‘it’s hard to manage black people’ and ‘who would be worth more: black slaves from times past, or new slaves.'”
More than 175 past and current employees of CNN/Time Warner have asked to be a part of the class action lawsuit against the media conglomerate.
It’s 2017. Is it too much to ask for employers to provide healthy work environments where employees are valued for their contributions to an organization and not teased, threatened, abused, and kept down because of their race and/or gender?
Also, it would be great if media organizations presented inclusive stories, information, and public-facing employees who reflect the diverse population of the country in which they are based.