Fox News Contributor Sues Net, Ailes Over Sexual Harassment

Two advertisers pull out of O'Reilly's show
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Fox News was hit with another lawsuit by a woman claiming she was treated improperly by the network and its former chairman Roger Ailes.

The new suit was filed by Julie Roginsky, a paid on air contributor to Fox News since 2011. It names Fox, Ailes and copresident Bill Shine as defendants.

The suit comes nearly a year after Ailes was forced out of his powerful position because of a series of sexual harassment complaints, which the network has spent at least $30 million settling.

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Over the weekend, the New York Timespublished a story outlining a number of complaints that have also been made against Bill O’Reilly, the host of Fox News’ top rated shows. The Times says O’Reilly and Fox have paid out $13 million in settlements.

One advertiser, Mercedes-Benz said it has "reassigned" the advertising that had been running on O’Reilly’s show following the report, telling CNN "we don’t feel this is a good environment in which to advertise our products right now." Other advertisers are monitoring the situation, CNN said.

Hyundai also pulled out of The O'Reilly Factor, according to the Times. "As a company, we seek to partner with companies and programming that share our values of inclusion and diversity," the auto company said in a statement quoted by the paper.

Fox News and its parent 21st Century Fox are being investigated to see if they properly disclosed to shareholders that these payments were made.

Late Monday, the new executive VP of human resources at Fox News, Kevin Lord, sent an email to staff saying that in light of recently published accounts, he wanted to re-emphasize that if any employ has concerns about workplace behavior, they should come to him or general counsel Dianne Brandi. They can also go to 21st Century Fox’s chief compliance officer Gerson Zweifach or Michele Hirshman of Paul Weiss, the law firm that has been investigating sexual harassment clams.

In her suit, filed Monday in New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan, Roginsky claims that Fox News and Ailes discriminated against her "on the basis of her gender by making her deserved promotion to a regular spot hosting The Five contingent upon having a sexual relationship with Ailes.

"Fox News and Ailes thereafter retaliated against Plaintiff when she refused to have a sexual relationship with Ailes. Shine aided and abetted the discrimination and retaliation by Fox News and Ailes by failing to take reasonable measures to protect Roginsky from, and condoning, the unlawful conduct," she said in the suit.

Roginsky also said in her complaint that during one-on-one meetings with Ailes in his office, he would frequently talk about her personal life, suggesting she have sexual relationships with older men.

During these meetings, "Ailes repeatedly made sexist comments about the other members of The Five. For example, Ailes stated that Kimberly Guilfoyle would "get on her knees for anyone," Roginsky adds in the court papers.

After she refused to have a sexual relationship with Ailes, she claims she was pulled from her regular appearances on The Five; was rarely allowed to host her own segments on another show, Outnumbered; was denied a "lucrative hosting job" and was shunned, ostracized and humiliated.

The suit also claims that Fox News planted negative stories about Roginsky and that she was further retaliated against when she declined to disparage Gretchen Carlson, who had brought a sexual harassment suit against Ailes. Carlson received a settlement worth $20 million.

Ailes has denied the charges against him. Susan R. Estrich, a lawyer for Mr. Ailes, told The Times that he "vociferously denies her allegations." She called the assertions in Roginsky’s suit "hogwash" and said that the suit was a "copycat complaint."

Roginsky says she brought her complaints to Shine and legal executives at Fox News, but her allegations were not investigated by either Fox News or by parent company 21st Century Fox.

Roginsky is seeking compensatory and punitive damages, plus attorney’s fees and court costs.

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