Eight current and former Fox News employees, including two-time Emmy award winning presenter Kelly Wright, have joined a racial discrimination lawsuit against the cable channel alleging “Plantation-style management” by top executives.
Mr Wright alleges he was sidelined from programming and passed over for plum assignments that were given to white colleagues.
The lawsuit, which adds eight plaintiffs to the three Fox News employees who previously sued, is seeking class action status. The current and former Fox employees joining the lawsuit Tuesday include Musfiq Rahman, Mark LeGrier, Mariela Lindsay, Vielka Rojas, Mauretta Thomas, Griselda Benson and Senami Tolode.
“When it comes to racial discrimination, 21st Century Fox has been operating as if it should be called 18th Century Fox. We sincerely hope the filing of this race class action wakes 21stCentury Fox from its slumbers and inspires the Company to take a conciliatory and appropriate approach to remedy its wrongs,” said Douglas Wigdor, the lawyer representing the Fox employees.
A spokesperson for Fox News said:
Fox News and Dianne Brandi [Fox’s legal counsel] vehemently deny the race discrimination claims in both lawsuits. They are copycat complaints of the original one filed last month. We will vigorously defend these cases.
Judy Slater, Fox’s controller who is named as a defendant in the lawsuit, was fired by Fox before the case was filed.
Catherine M. Foti, attorney for Ms Slater, and a principal of Morvillo, Abramowitz, Grand, Iason & Anello, said:
These are meritless and frivolous lawsuits and all claims of racial discrimination against Ms Slater are completely false.
We have yet to see the alleged additions to the original lawsuit. Given how outrageous and offensive these suits are, it’s incomprehensible to imagine how anyone has joined or would join these legal actions.
Mr Wright, who has been with Fox since 2003, is highest-profile employee to allege racial discrimination against the cable channel. The allegations come as Fox is seeking to rebound from a spate of allegations of sexual harassment by Roger Ailes, the former chairman, and Bill O’Reilly, the host of the most popular programme in cable news, until he was removed last week.