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Heat Gets Hotter at Fox as Black Employees Sue Over Alleged Discrimination

Fox News
Fox News Headquarters in New York. AP / Mark Lenihan

Fox News may have rid themselves of Bill O’Reilly, but their troubles have gone from allegations of sexual harassment to racial discrimination and humiliation.

According to New York Magazine, the embattled network is the target of a lawsuit filed by two employees, alleging that members of the payroll staff were subject to racial insults from the company’s comptroller and that its director of accounting did nothing to stop it. The magazine says several more employees are planning to join the litigation.

The lawsuit accuses the comptroller Judy Slater (who was fired in February) kept up her behavior for years and that Tammy Efinger, the accounting director, was a participant. According to a letter from the plaintiffs’ lawyer:

“Not once did Ms. Efinger step in or attempt to interfere with Ms. Slater’s outrageous conduct. Ms. Efinger chose to laugh or giggle following Ms. Slater’s vitriol.”

That same letter also alleges that Black female employees were told by Slater to hold “arm wrestling matches” with White female office workers on the same floor as the office of former Fox chairman Roger Ailes.

“Forcing a Black woman employee to ‘fight’ for the amusement and pleasure of her White superiors is horrifying. This highly offensive and humiliating act is reminiscent of Jim Crow era battle royals,” the letter said.

Fox has not commented yet on the lawsuit, said NYMag.com.

Last week Fox fired top-rated news host Bill O’Reilly after mounting allegations of sexual harassment continued to surface. One African-American woman, Perquita Burgess, appeared on ABC’s “The View” to describe his behavior. “One day he walked past my desk and I’m sitting there minding my business and he says “hey, hot chocolate,” she recalled. Five other women settled with Fox Network for $13 million in a sexual harassment lawsuit.

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