Even with contested host Bill O’Reilly out of the picture, legal woes for the Fox News Network continue to pile up.
The conservative news network faces new allegations of racism, as seven additional Black employees are expected to join a racial-discrimination suit filed by two fellow colleagues last month, according to New York Magazine.
The original suit accuses Fox’s longtime comptroller Judy Slater of subjecting Black payroll employees to years of racist insults and behaviors. In a letter sent to network lawyers last week, attorneys for the plaintiffs also alleged racism in the accounting department, saying Slater forced Black female employees to hold arm wrestling matches against white female employees in the office.
“Forcing a black woman employee to ‘fight’ for the amusement and pleasure of her white superiors is horrifying,” attorneys wrote in the letter obtained by the magazine. “This highly offensive and humiliating act is reminiscent of Jim Crow-era battle royals.”
Fox fired Slater in late March following an investigation into the racism allegations. Now, attorneys representing the payroll employees are demanding that the network terminate accounting director Tammy Effinger, who allegedly condoned Slater’s racist behavior.
“Not once did Ms. Efinger step in or attempt to interfere with Ms. Slater’s outrageous conduct,” attorneys said. Instead, “Ms. Efinger chose to laugh or giggle following Ms. Slater’s vitriol.”
The claims are the latest in a slew of allegations pointing to a culture of discrimination and harassment at Fox News. The network was forced to fire its highest-rated host last week amid a number of sexual harassment claims from women who used to work there. A new accuser came forward the same day of O’Reilly’s firing, saying the political commentator frequently referred to her as “hot chocolate.”
“He would walk by her desk … and make grunting noises like an animal and wait for her to get off the elevator first and look at her backside and say, ‘Looking good, girl,'” said lawyer Lisa Bloom, who’s representing the unnamed Black woman. “He would look at her cleavage and legs and call her ‘hot chocolate.'”
Tucker Carlson is set to take over O’Reilly’s 8 p.m. time slot with “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”