This case really isn’t all that surprising.
Fox News has been slapped with a lawsuit alleging that the network fostered a climate of racism inside its operations network.
The lawsuit has been brought by two women named Tichaona Brown and Tabrese Wright, both of whom worked in the payroll department. These women have leveled their allegations against Judith Slater, whom The New York Times described as the Fox network’s “longtime comptroller.” Slater no longer works at Fox, according to the network, in a firing that Fox painted as their response to these women’s allegations. It’s not immediately clear what the employment status of Brown and Wright is.
The allegations brought against Slater and, concurrently, against her superiors for failing to put a stop to the behavior, are truly horrendous. Again however, knowing the kind of people who work at Fox News, the allegations really aren’t all that surprising. After all, this network is the network on which one of the “stars” — Bill O’Reilly — “joked” that an African American guest on his show “looked kind of like a cocaine dealer.” To list out all such instances of behavior that have been recorded at Fox News would take up the space of several volumes at least.
Brown and Wright, according to the NYT, allege that Slater made “suggestions that black men were ‘women beaters’ and that black people wanted to physically harm white people.”
In addition, the women allege, Slater “claimed that black employees mispronounced words, such as ‘mother,’ ‘father,’ ‘month’ and ‘ask,’ and that she urged Ms. Brown to say those words aloud in a meeting.”
Slater also specifically targeted Wright on occasion, including a time that Wright alleges that Slater asked her “if her three children were all ‘fathered by the same man.'”
Again, although these allegations against Fox News are horrendous, they aren’t surprising. Fox News has a long documented history of being a hostile environment, with examples ranging from the time that Sean Hannity pulled a gun on an African American guest on his show to the fact that the network’s longtime Chairman, Roger Ailes, was ousted last year over allegations that he was “the Bill Cosby of the news industry.”
Douglas H. Wigdor and Jeanne Christensen of the Wigdor law firm, which is representing Wright and Brown, commented of their pending case against Fox: “We are confident that the good men and women of the Bronx will hold Fox accountable for what we believe to be its abhorrent racist conduct, reminiscent of the Jim Crow era.”
Fox News, unsurprisingly, called the lawsuit “needless litigation,” writing the following in a statement delivered to The New York Times:
‘We take complaints of this nature very seriously and took prompt and effective remedial action before Ms. Brown and Ms. Wright sued in court and even before Ms. Wright complained through her lawyer. There is no place for inappropriate verbal remarks like this at Fox News. We are disappointed that this needless litigation has been filed.’
Perhaps, if the executives at Fox News were African American and members of their race had been systematically dehumanized for hundreds and hundreds of years, than they’d see how the lawsuit against them isn’t just “needless litigation,” since it’s pretty easy to see that the people who wrote that statement probably aren’t African American.
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