Fox News reportedly settles discrimination claims for $10M
Scandal-scarred Fox News is reportedly paying millions to settle a number of racial and gender discrimination lawsuits brought by employees.
The total settlement figure tipped the scales at $10 million, a source told the Hollywood Reporter.
The deal involves 18 current and former employees, including Emmy-winning anchor Kelly Wright, a source confirmed to the Daily News.
Wright, a former “Fox & Friends Weekend” co-host, was the most prominent plaintiff in a racial discrimination class action lawsuit filed last year by Tichaona Brown and Tabrese Wright, two black employees in the Fox News payroll department.
Speaking at a press conference last year, Wright called it “indefensible” that Fox News – already tarred by claims its former chief Roger Ailes sexually harassed female employees including Megyn Kelly and Gretchen Carlson – had only one black male anchor on staff.
“Despite his outstanding performance, and because he is black, Mr. Wright has been effectively sidelined and asked to perform the role of a ‘Jim Crow’ — the racist caricature of a black entertainer,” the suit, filed by employment lawyer Douglas Wigdor, said.
Wright announced his formal departure from the network in a statement Tuesday.
“Kelly Wright has informed Fox News of his desire to pursue new opportunities. He thanks Fox News and wishes it well as he moves forward to the next phase of his career,” the statement obtained by The News said.
The settlement further covers a 2016 gender discrimination lawsuit filed by Lidia Curanaj, a Fox 5 reporter in New York who claimed Ailes harassed her when she applied for a job at Fox News.
The pact also puts to rest a gender discrimination lawsuit filed by Fox News Radio reporter Jessica Golloher.
Fox News has denied the allegations in the complaints.
“The parties have reached mutual agreements that resolve various cases involving former Fox News employees,” a joint statement from Fox and Wigdor said.
Notably, the global deal does not cover a defamation lawsuit brought by Rod Wheeler, a former Fox News contributor who says the network fabricated his quotes, and Scottie Hughes, a contributor who claims she was raped by a Fox Business host and retaliated against for reporting the alleged assault, THR reported.
On Monday, Wigdor’s law firm filed motions to withdraw as counsel in the Wheeler and Hughes cases, THR said.
A source told The News Tuesday that it was “ridiculous” to suggest the motions to leave the cases were a result of the settlement.