In a growing racial discrimination lawsuit against Fox News, two more plaintiffs were added to the complaint in the Bronx Supreme Court on Monday.
With the addition of the two women, at least 16 current and former employees at Fox are now alleging they experienced ‘systemic discrimination based on race, ethnicity and national origin’ while at the network.
Attorney Douglas H. Wigdor is representing the employees in two related suits.
Tichaona Brown and Tabrese Wright, who filed the initial complaint at the end of March, accused the former controller at Fox News, Judy Slater, of making a barrage of racist comments during their time at the company.
Now, Claudine McLeod and Elizabeth Fernandez, who worked in the accounts payable department, also allege that Slater has made numerous discriminatory remarks to them over the past few years at Fox.
16 current and former employees at Fox News are alleging they were discriminated against because of their race
McLeod, a black Panamanian, first joined Fox News in 2007 and still works at the network.
Over the past 10 years, she states in the complaint that Slater has allegedly made frequent stereotypical and derogatory comments about her heritage.
Slater reportedly told McLeod that ‘you people are high maintenance’ in regards to health insurance costs and are ‘driving up everyone’s healthcare premiums.’
She also allegedly demanded to know whether Ms. McLeod and other minority employees were United States Citizens, and threw pieces of candy at McLeod and other minority employees during a birthday celebration.
McLeod also claims that Slater threatened to replace her when she needed to take a day off due to the effects of her diabetes, and when she told Slater that her daughter suffered from panic attacks, Slater called McLeod’s child a ‘stupid little girl.’
Fernandez, who is Hispanic, worked for Fox News from August 2008 through July 2014.
She alleges that Slater also made racist comments towards her, including: ‘I don’t like Spanish people’s food, you guys like eating pig feet, chicken feet, pig tongue and cow tail I wouldn’t even feed my dogs your food; Liz, do you like pig feet?’
When Fernandez was pregnant with her first son, Slater asked if she knew the sex of the baby and if she planned on having more kids because ‘Latinas like having a ton of kids’ in front of others at a meeting.
The employees accuse Fox News of ‘top-down racial harassment’ in their complaint, claiming that executives including former CEO Roger Ailes (pictured) and current co-presidents Bill Shine and Jack Abernathy ‘allowed this repugnant racial discrimination to go unchecked’
Slater also told Fernandez that another minority employee was a terrorist and warned that he might drop a bomb, and would often ridicule other employees of color, including making fun of one’s ‘big butt,’ according to the complaint.
‘The only consistency at Fox is the abhorrent, intolerable, unlawful and hostile racial discrimination that was inflicted on minority employees that appears more akin to Plantation-style management than a modern-day work environment,’ the complaint states.
Slater was fired from the company on February 28 after 18 years of working for 21st Century Fox.
The employees are accusing Fox News of ‘top-down racial harassment’ in their complaint, claiming that executives including former CEO Roger Ailes and current co-presidents Bill Shine and Jack Abernathy ‘allowed this repugnant racial discrimination to go unchecked.’
‘The race discrimination class action complaint continues to grow evidencing a systemic and deeply troubling pattern at 21st Century Fox,’ Attorney Wigdor said in a statement.
‘Any suggestion by 21st Century Fox that it has taken prompt and remedial action distorts the reality that Fox’s current General Counsel, Dianne Brandi, had knowledge of this racist behavior for many years.
‘It is our collective hope that rather than reflexively denying these claims and declaring that they will be vigorously defended, 21st Century Fox will finally show some contrition, acknowledge it is at fault and issue an apology, and address the reality that these hard working men and women have been treated unlawfully.’
In a statement made last month, Catherine M. Foti, an attorney for Slater, maintained that ‘all claims of racial discrimination’ against her client are completely false.’
OTHER ALLEGATIONS MADE AGAINST SLATER IN THE SUIT
-Slater ridiculed black employees by mocking stereotyped speech and complained, for example, that black employees mispronounce the words ‘mother,’ ‘father,’ ‘month’ and ‘ask,’ by pronouncing the words as ‘muva,’ ‘fava,’ ‘monf,’ and ‘axe,’ and incredulously forced black employees to practice saying the words correctly in front of white employees.
-Slater openly claimed that the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement is extremely racist and wondered what would happen if there was a parallel ‘White Lives Matter’ movement.
-Slater regularly talked about her fear that black people want to physically harm white people, Slater told employees that she does not travel north of 90th Street in Manhattan because she is afraid she will be ‘jumped’ or ‘beat up.’ For safety reasons, Slater claims to travel there only when accompanied by a black person.
-Slater blatantly mocked the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement. After the August 2014 shooting of Mike Brown, and the onset of the ‘Hands Up, Don’t Shoot’ slogan, when Ms. Brown would stop by Slater’s office to say goodbye at the end of the day, Slater responded by raising her hands up in the ‘Hands Up, Don’t Shoot’ movement.
-Slater regularly called her commuter train to New Jersey the ‘Bombay Express,’ due to the number of people of Indian descent who live in New Jersey.
-Slater openly talked about her belief that all Chinese men have ‘small penises.’
–Slater called day laborers ‘cheap Mexicans.’
-Due to the number of employees of color in the payroll department, Slater regularly called the payroll department, the ‘southern payroll department’ and the ‘urban payroll department.’
-Slater asked Ms. Brown and Ms. Wright to teach her how to ‘beat box.’
-Knowing that Ms. Wright has three children, Slater incredulously asked her if all three children ‘were fathered by the same man.’