Diana Falzone, a Fox News reporter who wrote celebrity news for FoxNews.com, has filed a gender discrimination lawsuit against the network, claiming that she was demoted after she came forward with a painful medical diagnosis. In January 2017, she announced that she had endometriosis, which she says has made it impossible for her to have children.
Falzone’s lawsuit comes just days after Fox News on-air journalist Kelly Wright joined a class-action racial discrimination lawsuit. The network has also faced accusations of sexual harassment from former O’Reilly Factor host Bill O’Reilly and former Fox News CEO Roger Ailes.
Here’s what you need to know about Falzone and her lawsuit.
1. Falzone Claims She Was Demoted After Writing About Her Endometriosis Diagnosis
Falzone is being represented by Nancy Erika Smith, a Montclair, New Jersey attorney who also represented Gretchen Carlson in her lawsuit against Ailes. That lawsuit ended with a settlement that paid Carlson $20 million. Fox News hasn’t commented on Falzone’s lawsuit.
In the complaint, which you can read above in full, Falzone claims that she was “forever banned” from appearing on air, just three days after “Women Should Never Suffer in Silence” was published on January 24, 2017. In the popular essay, the 33-year-old Falzone wrote that she was diagnosed with endometriosis, a gynecological condition that caused her infertility.
According to the complaint filed in New York State Supreme Court, Falzone’s supervisor was called up to the “Second Floor” offices of Co-Presidents Bill Shine and Jack Abernethy. He was told to “permanently ban her from ever appearing on air on any Foxnews.com medium, and that she would never again be permitted to host her own shows (many of which she created), conduct her own interviews, appear on Fox TV, or even do voiceovers,” according to a press release.
“The issues raised in Diana Falzone’s lawsuit are a concern for all women,” Smith said in a statement. “Fox News never banned her male counterparts who have discussed their personal health issues on air. Indeed, those men saw their careers advance.”
Shin has never been accused of sexual harassment himself, but has been frequently named in lawsuits because plaintiffs have accused him of doing nothing after he received complaints. 21st Century Fox confirmed just moments after Falzone’s lawsuit was filed that Shine has resigned.
2. Falzone Said She Was Never Told Why She Was Demoted
In the complaint, Falzone says she was never told why she was being demoted whenever she asked for a reason. She was particularly puzzled because, she claims, her essay was approved by the company. Instead, her supervisor suggested she start looking for another job.
Falzone’s Twitter page bio still says that she is a “reporter” at Fox News. At 11:33 a.m. on Monday, moments before news of the lawsuit broke, she tweeted an inspirational quote from Isabel Allende with the hashtag “Fearless.”
Falzone has tweeted a link to the New York Magazine report on her lawsuit.
She also thanked Lena Dunham for her support.
According to the complaint, Falzone did file a formal discrimination complaint to 21st Century Fox, Fox News’ parent company, using its “hotline” procedure. She didn’t file anonymously. She claims that no action was taken after she made her complaint.
Falzone claims that her removal from the air has “significantly damaged, and will continue to significantly damage, her career path.”
Falzone’s most recent FoxNews.com post was published today and is about UFC fighter Paige VanZant. It was her first post since April 10 and only her second since February 9.
3. Falzone Says Endometriosis Has Made it Impossible for Her to Have Children
In her essay on her endometriosis diagnosis, Falzone wrote that the condition means she cannot have children.
“It was just days after my 33rd birthday when my doctor delivered the worst news of my life: I will likely never have a child and fulfill my greatest wish of being a mother,” Falzone wrote. “When hit with the news that I am infertile, I could not stop crying. And not only was it very unlikely I’d ever conceive, my health was in jeopardy.”
She initially didn’t want to go public with the diagnosis, but her doctor’s office’s manager told her to share her story. She’s one of 176 million woman around the world who suffer from endometriosis, “a chronic condition where endometrial tissue grows outside of the uterus on other organs or structures in the body,” Falzone wrote.
She said she began feeling ill on February 1, 2016. She wrote that it was Fox News’ own Dr. Manny Alvarez who suggested she see her gynecologist as soon as possible.
“The symptoms can be intense and life-altering: debilitating pain, cramps, menstruation that lasts more than a week, bowel and urinary disorders and infertility. Some women, however, have no sign of the disease and it’s not until they try in vain to conceive a child that silent endometriosis (asymptomatic endo) is discovered,” Falzone write. “In my case, I did not have symptoms until my body was under acute attack.”
4. She Claims Fox News Personalities ‘are Required to Maintain an Image as Sex Objects’
In the complaint, Falzone claims there was gender discrimination behind Fox News’ decision to demote her.
She claims Fox News has “for years promoted and continues to promote a discriminatory environment in which female on-air personalities are required to maintain an image as sex objects, while male on-air personalities are not subjected to a compatible standard.” Falzone herself appeared in a Red Eye segment called “Ab News,” where Greg Gutfeld read nonsensical headlines while footage of Falzone doing ab exercises played.
Falzone also claims that Fox News’ “male-dominated senior management” “obviously objected” to her speaking out about a women’s reproductive health condition that “detracted from her sex appeal and made her less desirable.”
Falcone also compared her experience to the experiences by Neil Cavuto, Bob Beckel and Greg Jarrett, who have all spoken about their own health struggles but did not face consequences from the network.
5. She Previously Hosted Her Own Show on SiriusXM & Contributed to Maxim
Falzone is an experienced entertainment journalist, previously hosting her own SiriusXM satellite radio show called Cosmolicious with Diana and was the first female personality to work for Maxim‘s satellite radio station. She also hosted The Diana Falzone Show for Paltalk.com and wrote advice columns on Military.com.
Falzone also dabbled in acting, appearing in an Off-Broadway production of Valentino the Musical. She earned a B.A. in psychology from the New School in 2005.
In an interview with Fox News Insider in 2016, Falzone said she never planned to go into broadcasting. In fact, she only went into radio after she saw a Craigslist ad her brother, an Iraq war vet, showed her. She also appeared on the cover of a romance novel called A Touch of Magic, when she was only 19.
Falzone’s website can be found here.