In an episode reminiscent of the Roger Ailes sexual harassment scandal, Fox News has fired comptroller Judy Slater because, after 19 years of employment, the network has suddenly discovered she has repeatedly engaged in racist comments and behavior.
According to The Wrap, Fox employees came forward with complaints about Slater after the network began mandated sensitivity training following Ailes’ ouster last year. A Fox News spokesperson told The Wrap, “We take any complaint of this nature very seriously and took the appropriate action in investigating and firing Ms. Slater within two weeks of this being brought to our attention. There is no place for abhorrent behavior like this at Fox News.”
Oh, really? While she may not have yelled the N-word through the halls, it’s hard to imagine that nobody in a position of authority knew about Slater’s behavior. Some of the incidents reported by The Wrap are almost comical in their abhorrence:
[S]he responded to a good-night message from two African-American employees who stopped by her office by raising her hands in a “Hands up, don’t shoot” gesture, a slogan associated with the Black Lives Matter movement, the source said.
In addition to the above examples, Slater was accused of demeaning and mocking several African-American employees for their pronunciation of words like “mother,” “father,” “month,” and “ask.”
In another instance, she wrote down these words and asked the African-American employees to say them aloud, the individual said.
The Wrap goes on to list several other incidents involving similar behavior. So it’s clear that these were not a few isolated outbursts on Slater’s part. Nor was she some low level employee operating out of sight of top management.
The pattern is similar to Roger Ailes’ sexual harassment. As reporter Gabriel Sherman noted last September:
It was common knowledge at Fox that Ailes frequently made inappropriate comments to women in private meetings and asked them to twirl around so he could examine their figures; and there were persistent rumors that Ailes propositioned female employees for sexual favors. The culture of fear at Fox was such that no one would dare come forward.
That also meant, of course, that plenty of people in high positions turned their back on Ailes' behavior. Why wouldn't they do the same with Slater. Assuming they had a problem with it. Because Ailes has a long history of racism, too.
Meanwhile, as Fox News pats itself on the back for taking its employees complaints “very seriously” and its quick “appropriate action” against such “abhorrent behavior,” it might want to consider addressing the racism streaming out of its own airwaves:
Less than two weeks ago, Fox News contributor Kevin Jackson responded to Snoop Dogg’s controversial video by saying, “I wrote a piece called, ‘Why America Needs a White, Republican President,’ and this is exactly why.” (March 14, 2017)
Think that was a one off? Before he was a contributor, Jackson had a a record of making racially inflammatory remarks, such as this comment about racial unrest in the wake of police shootings of unarmed African Americans:
“You’re not going to see Asians rioting over this when it happens to them because everybody realizes that mistakes can be made.” (June 10, 2015)
In April, 2016, Bill O’Reilly sounded like a Slater soulmate when he discussed with Donald Trump the prospect of bringing jobs to the inner city. First, O’Reilly complained “the grievance industry” would hinder any effort. Then, he asked:
“How you gonna get jobs for them? Many of them are ill-educated and have tattoos on their foreheads and I hate to be generalized about it but it’s true.” (April 11, 2016)
So don’t tell me Slater didn’t know she was among friendly company all those years.
In 2007, Brave New Films produced a video called “Fox Attacks Black America.” Full disclosure: I assisted with the research. Watch it below and you’ll see that racism at Fox News has been apparent for many, many years.
(Image above via screen grab from video below)
With the firing of US Attorney Preet Bharara, two weeks ago, it now put a question mark on the investigation.
I can understand why someone would take a settlement to avoid years of appeals and court cost. Andrea Tantaros appears to be willing to fight back, and I applaud her courage and willingness to take on the challenge.
After the denials and Bill saying on his show, he and Fox would fight against Andrea, it seemed like the next day it was reported that she recorded the conversations and it was quickly settled with the understanding that the tapes would be handed over to Fox to be destroyed and that both sides would remain silent. It seemed to be the same when it was reported that Gretchen recorded Ailes to prove her allegations.
Bill had another harassment case settled last year and has one pending after the attempt to settle out of court was rejected. Obviously, Fox has made a business decision to keep Bill because of his ratings and the advertising revenue he brings in.
Sadly, I don’t believe that corporate America suddenly woke up to the fact that sexual harassment was no longer acceptable behavior in the workplace, but more of the fear of lawsuits that would affect the bottom line and most importantly, stockholder values and bonuses for management.
I believe the reason for why employers have employees take sexual harassment courses is legal advice to protect the bottom line in court cases where attorneys representing a corporation can argue to a judge or jury that the company can’t keep track of the ongoings with everyone but made ever reasonable attempt to avoid such situations, so they are not responsible.
The flip side, of course, is the danger that someone can be ruined by just being wrongly accused where they’re automatically presumed guilty and not given the opportunity to prove their innocence because the company would rather pay a settlement than dealing with the high cost of court, negative publicity and the cost of appeals if the company feels it was unfairly penalized.
NOTE TO FOX “NEWS” USELESS MANAGEMENT
You have a man accused of sexual harassment still on the payroll. You know who he is. Get rid of him.
Hm — I wonder how many years it will take for Fox and its viewers to “suddenly” discover that the second largest shareholder in News Corp. is a member of the Saudi royal family (Al-Waleed bin Talal)
But that was way back in the ninetys. Mitsubishi ignored the sexual discrimination laws and rightfully got their asses sued. But that was back in the late ninetys. Faux sure is getting religion late.