Third Fox News employee joins racial discrimination lawsuit

NEW YORK -- A third Fox News Channel employee has joined two colleagues in their lawsuit that says they were subjected to racial discrimination by a since-fired executive.

Monica Douglas said former controller Judith Slater, who was fired on Feb. 28, frequently expressed an unwillingness to be near black people. Douglas is black, as are colleagues Tichaona Brown and Tabrese Wright, who filed suit against Fox last week.

Douglas, who is Panamanian, said in the lawsuit that Slater told her she wouldn’t let her dogs eat food Panamanians eat. She said Slater frequently referred to her status as a breast cancer survivor, calling her the “one-boobed girl” and the like. Douglas said she complained about Slater’s comments in 2014 and nothing was done.

Fox, in a statement, said it takes complaints like this very seriously.

“There is no place for conduct like this at Fox News, which is why Ms. Slater was fired,” the network said.

The development comes days after Fox’s most popular personality, Bill O’Reilly, apologized for an on-air comment that he couldn’t concentrate on a speech by California Rep. Maxine Waters, who is black, because he was distracted by her “James Brown wig.”

It also comes on the heels of a weekend New York Times report that Fox News has stood by O’Reilly as he faced allegations of sexual harassment or other inappropriate behavior. The report said five women received payouts -- totaling about $13 million -- from either the company or O’Reilly.

Companies including Hyundai and Mercedes-Benz are now pulling advertising from O’Reilly’s nightly talk show.

Fox is also dealing with the legal fallout from last summer’s forced departure of former CEO Roger Ailes because of sexual harassment charges, which he denied. On Monday, a Fox News contributor came forward to level more sexual-harassment allegations against Ailes.

O’Reilly said over the weekend that he is vulnerable to lawsuits from people who threaten to cause him bad publicity unless they get paid. He said he had “put to rest any controversies” to spare his children.

“That is the real significance of this story. Because last summer they were so clear about the fact that this kind of behavior was not going to be accepted at the company and yet what my colleagues uncovered is that they’re still settling these claims,” New York Times reporter and CBS News contributor Jodi Kantor said Monday on “CBS This Morning.”

© 2017 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.


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