On April 19, 2017 Fox announced their decision to terminate Bill O’Reilly after a series of sexual and racial harassment allegations were made against him. Earlier that same day, Douglas H. Wigdor, founding Partner of Wigdor LLP, rejected claims from O’Reilly’s attorney that the host was the target of a leftist “smear campaign,” and released the following statement:
Yesterday, Marc Kasowitz issued a statement on behalf of Bill O’Reilly that stated that, “Bill O’Reilly has been subjected to a brutal campaign of character assassination that is unprecedented in post-McCarthyist America. This law firm has uncovered evidence that the smear campaign is being orchestrated by far-left organizations bent on destroying O’Reilly for political and financial reasons.” As someone who supported and contributed to the Trump campaign and who routinely watches Fox News, I can categorically deny, and find it offensive, that my Firm is being accused of being controlled by far-left organizations. To the contrary, we have and will continue to vindicate the rights of all employees to ensure that they are treated fairly and lawfully regardless of who they work for or what political beliefs such employer may support. In the coming days, we will be filing additional complaints and allegations against Fox News that will shed further light on the abhorrent, intolerable, and unlawful working conditions that our clients have been forced to endure.
Statement of Douglas H. Wigdor, Founding Partner of Wigdor LLP
Wigdor LLP recently filed a lawsuit against Twenty-First Century Fox, Inc., Fox News Network LLC, Judith Slater, Controller and Senior Vice President of Accounting at Fox, and Dianne Brandi, Fox General Counsel, alleging systemic and abhorrent racial discrimination on behalf of Wigdor LLP clients Tichaona Brown, Tabrese Wright and Monica Douglas. The complaint alleges that during their employment in Fox’s payroll and accounting department Plaintiffs were subjected to relentless bigotry and racial discrimination from Ms. Slater, the supervisor of payroll. Read the amended complaint here.
As alleged in the complaint, Fox was fully aware of Slater’s racist conduct and allowed it to continue for years without reprisal; only when they were given notice of the pending lawsuit did they take action, by terminating Ms. Slater. Speaking after filing the amended complaint Wigdor LLP Partners Douglas Wigdor and Jeanne Christensen challenged claims by Fox that they were not aware of the discrimination, stating: “The allegations in the amended complaint make clear that Fox, at the highest levels, was on notice of Ms. Slater’s racist conduct for years and unfortunately did nothing about it.”
Wigdor LLP also represents Lidija Curanaj in a lawsuit against Twenty-First Century Fox, Inc., Fox Entertainment Group LLC, Fox Television Stations, LLC, and Bryon Harmon, Fox5 News Director. Ms. Curanaj, a reporter with Fox5, alleges that she was invited to a private interview with Roger Ailes, where he asked Ms. Curanaj to stand up and “turn around” so he could “see [her] from behind.” Ms. Curanaj was subsequently offered a position with Fox5 as a freelance reporter. As the lawsuit alleges, Fox5, led by Mr. Harmon, perpetuated a gender based hostile work environment where Ms. Curanaj was told she was “not attractive enough to be an anchor,” thereby denying her promotion to a full-time employee, in favor of younger and less experienced reporters. Furthermore, the complaint alleges that when Ms. Curanaj disclosed her pregnancy she was subject to blatant discrimination; she was immediately removed from the weekend schedule and the Fox refused her request to have a regular schedule after returning from her expected maternity leave. When Fox was notified of the gender and pregnancy discrimination, it responded by engaging in further unlawful retaliation against Ms. Curanaj. As the complaint contends, the cases against Ailes and O’Reilly, including Ms. Curanaj’s allegations, show that gender discrimination permeates throughout the entire Fox corporate chain.
Sexual Harassment Amended Complaint
‘We part ways due to completely unfounded claims’: Defiant Bill O’Reilly issues statement insisting he did NOTHING wrong and wishes Fox News ‘the best’ after being fired”
April 19, 2017