A radio reporter at Fox News sued the network Thursday over allegations of gender discrimination. It’s the latest lawsuit in a string of legal actions aimed at the news giant.
In the suit, Jessica Golloher, a radio journalist based in Jerusalem, said she endured several years of discrimination during her time as a freelancer and later as a full-time employee at Fox News Radio. Golloher claims she tried to report the treatment last month following a series of harassment reports related to former anchor Bill O’Reilly, but within 24 hours of emailing an attorney about those complaints, she was informed by a supervisor that her contract would not be renewed and her position would be eliminated.
Her lawyers filed suit in New York State Supreme Court against the network, parent company 21st Century Fox and two of her managers, Hank Weinbloom and Mitch Davis.
“Within 24 hours of sending this email, knowing that Ms. Golloher had previously made internal complaints about gender discrimination, Ms. Golloher was, without any prior warning, fired,” the suit reads. “The decision to terminate Ms. Golloher can only be described as a blatant act of retaliation.”
A person familiar with the case refuted that account, saying that Golloher’s managers were unaware of the email and that the decision to cut her position was made independent of the complaints.
A Fox News spokesperson also denied the allegations, saying the network would “vigorously defend the matter.”
“Jessica Golloher’s claims are without merit,” the spokesperson said in a statement. “Her allegations of discrimination and retaliation are baseless.”
Golloher, who began working with Fox News as a freelancer in 2008, cited several incidents of marginalization, including during coverage of 2014’s Winter Olympics in Sochi, where she says she was “degraded and humiliated” after being forced to work as an “assistant” to a male reporter. In another example, the suit says, Golloher was told by her manager to “find better pictures of herself” and that she was “much better looking in person.”
She alleges complaints about the treatment were brushed off by supervisors. The suit notes she did not complain to human resources because she had heard that “HR was not to be trusted as it had repeatedly failed to assist employees with valid concerns.”
Thursday’s lawsuit follows several filed in recent months by current and former employees of Fox News. In late April, a group of 11 people filed a class-action suit over allegations of years of “abhorrent, intolerable” racial discrimination. Earlier that month, an on-air contributor filed a separate suit, claiming former Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes made repeated sexual advances toward her.
The legal action came amid a network-wide purge that has seen the departure of Fox standard-bearers Roger Ailes, Bill Shine and O’Reilly, all implicated in a sexual harassment scandal that has thrust the company into chaos.
At the end of April, 21st Century Fox Co-chairman Rupert Murdoch addressed the upheaval in a memo sent to staff:
“I know the last few weeks have been tough for everyone here, but our passion for news and commitment to our viewers continue to lead us through. Congratulations and thank you for all your hard work.”