Two black employees at Fox News in New York City have filed a lawsuit against the company in New York State Supreme Court in Bronx County, court documents stated Tuesday.
The plaintiffs in the case, Tichaona Brown and Tabrese Wright accuse a white female supervisor at Fox News of making racist and stereotypical remarks for years.
The lawsuit is seeking damages for “the appalling racial discrimination which they suffered while employed by Fox,” the complaint filed to the N.Y. Supreme Court said. It stems from executives at Fox News being aware of the discrimination but “doing nothing to put an end to it and intentionally turning a blind eye,” the complaint alleges.
For the full 30-page complaint filed with the Supreme Court, read the document below:
Here’s what you need to know about the case:
1. The Lawsuit Alleges That Former Fox News Employee Judy Slater ‘Ridiculed’ & ‘Mocked’ Black Employees With Stereotyped Speech
In the lawsuit, the plaintiffs said they “suffered years-long relentless racial animus at the hands of their white supervisor, Judith Slater.”
Slater was an 18-year veteran employee at Fox News and was the senior vice president of accounting and a comptroller. In the complaint, the plaintiffs allege that Slater used stereotypes to mock and complain to black employees.
A few of the examples listed in the suit say that Slater said black employees “mispronounce the words ‘mother,’ ‘father’ and ‘month’ and ‘ask’ by pronouncing them as ‘muva,’ ‘fava,’ ‘monf,’ and ‘axe.'” It further stated that Slater “forced” black employees to practice saying the words the correct way in front of white employees at Fox.
In addition, the complaint says that Slater “openly claimed” that the “Black Lives Matter” movement is “extremely racist” and asked what would happen if there were a movement called “White Lives Matter.” The lawsuit also states that Slater talked about having a fear that black people “want to physically harm white people.”
Those are only a few of the allegations. Others include racist comments about NFL player Ray Rice’s assault of his girlfriend and O.J. Simpson.
Here are the discrimination allegations listed in the lawsuit:
2. Slater Was Fired From Fox News After Last Week
Once the allegations came to light and following an internal investigation, Fox News fired Slater.
A spokesperson for Fox News said in a statement following Slater’s firing:
We take any complaint of this nature very seriously and took the appropriate action in investigating and firing Ms. Slater within two weeks of this being brought to our attention. There is no place for abhorrent behavior like this at Fox News.
However, the lawsuit alleges that Slater “was not terminated because she engaged in discriminatory conduct — Fox was willing to let her get away with that for years.” It continued that Slater lost her job after 18 years because “Fox knew this would become a public matter and wanted to salvage its reputation.”
It claims that in statements made to the press, Fox said it took “appropriate action” in response to Brown and Wright’s complaints.
3. Brown Ended Up Being Fired & Wright Was Demoted at Fox News
Also in the complaint, Brown alleges that she was fired from Fox News because of bringing the racist remarks to light. It also said that Wright was demoted from the company.
However, a Fox News spokesperson claimed that isn’t the case. Instead, Brown is still employed with the company while Wright made a “lateral move” within the company.
The complaint goes on to say that Fox News “even admitted that it demoted Ms. Wright because she brought this lawsuit.” It claims that in the company’s statement about the employee moves, it owned up to demoting her.
This lateral transfer is occurring so that she no longer has access to Fox News confidential information that she could use in her lawsuit.
4. Former Fox News Chairman & CEO Roger Ailes Resigned From the Position After Sexual Harassment Claims
These aren’t the first accusations against Fox News alleging discrimination or sexual harassment.
In July 2016, chairman and CEO Roger Ailes resigned from the position after an internal investigation. Former Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson alleged that Ailes sexually harassed her numerous times while she worked for the company.
Investigators into the matter interviewed former Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly, who was reportedly part of a “small group of employees who resisted a campaign to rally support for Mr. Ailes,” The New York Times wrote.
Since the lawsuit was filed, about 10 women came forward with stories of inappropriate conduct performed by Ailes. He was replaced as the head of the company by Rupert Murdoch.
Ailes wrote in a letter to Murdoch how he didn’t want to become a distraction at the company.
Having spent 20 years building this historic business, I will not allow my presence to become a distraction from the work that must be done every day to ensure that Fox News and Fox Business continue to lead our industry
5. The Platiffs’ Lawyers Are Also Representing 2 New York Times Employees In a Discrimination Lawsuit
One of the attorneys acting on behalf of the two Fox News employee is Douglas H. Wigdor, a lawyer that’s been involved in numerous high-profile lawsuits. He and Jeanne Christensen of the Wigdor law firm have taken the case.
In fact, Wigdor is the same lawyer that’s representing two employees at The New York Times in another federal lawsuit filed in April 2016.
The two black women in their 60s, Ernestine Grant and Marjorie Walker, allege that the workplace under The Times Chief Executive Mark Thompson “has become an environment rife with discrimination based on age, race and gender.”
But a New York Times spokeswoman Eileen Murphy said in a statement that the lawsuit is “entirely without merit.”
This lawsuit contains a series of recycled, scurrilous and unjustified attacks on both Mark Thompson and Meredith Levien. It also completely distorts the realities of the work environment at The New York Times. We strongly disagree with any claim that The Times, Mr. Thompson or Ms. Levien have discriminated against any individual or group of employees.
The two women, who are employed in the advertising department at the newspaper, are seeking a class-action lawsuit.
The complaint filed in court alleges that the two employees at The Times experienced discrimination and were retaliated against when they complained about it.
Wigdor said in a statement of his own about the lawsuit that the discrimination is a “double standard” for The Times.
It is astonishing that a news organization that regularly promotes liberal social viewpoints could have a double standard when it comes to blatantly discriminating and retaliating against its own hard-working and dedicated employees.