The numbers are big: 18 lawsuits settled for $10 million. The numbers are part of news reports detailing settlements Fox News has entered into with former employees.
According to NPR, the cases involve a number of lawsuits that alleged racial discrimination and several that included claims of gender discrimination and retaliation. The suits were apparently settled by 21st Century Fox and plaintiffs’ employment law attorneys after mediation and in negotiations.
The network’s problems began when Fox News CEO Roger Ailes resigned in the wake of sexual harassment allegations in 2016, followed by star talk-show host Bill O’Reilly last year after he was accused by multiple women.
Former Fox News host Gretchen Carlson’s lawsuit prompted others at the network to come forward and soon there were reports of multiple large settlements with other Ailes and O’Reilly accusers. In many reports about the lawsuits, employees and former employees have described a work culture there that allowed sexual harassment and enabled retaliation when inappropriate behavior was reported.
Other network figures have also been felled in the scandals, including former host Eric Bolling, former executive Francisco Cortes and former chief Washington correspondent James Rosen.
The recent settlements are focused on race more than sexual harassment, NPR reports, and behind-the-scenes employees rather than on-air personalities. In one of the settled cases, two workers in the payroll department said a supervisor often belittled them on their basis of race. Several other payroll employees filed similar lawsuits.
NPR says that the spate of settlements is further evidence that the Murdoch family is trying to wrap up outstanding legal problems as it pursues efforts to sell off entertainment holdings and make large media company purchases.