Fox News, Roger Ailes Hit With Another Sex-Harassment SuitBy
Contributor Julie Roginsky files claim in New York state court
Ailes’s lawyer calls the allegations in case ‘total hogwash’
A Fox News commentator sued the network for sexual harassment, adding to a pile of complaints since last year’s bombshell lawsuit against the company by former host Gretchen Carlson.
Julie Roginsky, who appeared on the network since 2004, claims she was denied a promotion after rebuffing advances from former chairman Roger Ailes, who was ousted from the company. The network has been fending off accusations of sexual harassment since Carlson sued in July alleging that Ailes oversaw a workplace rampant with sexism.
Federal prosecutors are also investigating whether Fox News’ parent company, 21st Century Fox Inc., should have told investors that it made secret settlement payments to female hosts who accused the network of sexual harassment.
In her suit, Roginsky said Fox News and Ailes denied her a permanent position and ultimately pulled her out of the regular rotation on “The Five," the network’s weekday talk show.
Susan Estrich, an attorney representing Ailes, said Roginsky’s account of her meetings with Ailes are “total hogwash,” and that those interactions with him are “not even close” to what she described.
“This copycat complaint is not about discrimination or retaliation,” Estrich said in a statement. “This is about someone who wants to pile-on in a massive character assassination in order to achieve what she did not accomplish on the merits.”
Other women have filed similar suits against the network, including Andrea Tantaros, another former host on “The Five,” whose suit led to the revelation that the network was under investigation by federal prosecutors.
One of Fox News’ former biggest stars, Megyn Kelly, also told lawyers conducting an internal probe that Ailes harassed her, New York magazine reported in July, citing unidentified people briefed on that investigation. Fox News agreed to pay Carlson $20 million in September to settle her case.
Roginsky’s suit comes days after the New York Times reported that five women have received payments from either 21st Century Fox or host Bill O’Reilly in exchange for agreeing not to sue or talk about their allegations that O’Reilly verbally abused them, subjected them to unwanted advances or made lewd comments.
Irena Briganti, a spokeswoman for Fox News, didn’t immediately respond to phone and email messages seeking comment on Roginsky’s claims.
Kevin Lord, executive vice president of human resources for Fox News, urged employees in an internal memo Monday to raise any concerns about workplace behavior with him or other officials. Lord said in the memo that, “Particularly in light of some of the accounts published over the last few days, I wanted to re-emphasize the message we have been conveying at our training sessions for several months.”
The case is Roginsky v. Fox News Network LLC, 153065/2017, New York State Supreme Court, New York County (Manhattan.)