This week, a third black Fox News employee has joined a racial discrimination lawsuit against the network that was filed last week by two black colleagues. The lawsuit’s latest accuser, Monica Douglas, works as Fox News’s manager for credit collections and alleges that the network’s now-fired comptroller, Judy Slater, subjected her to several years of racial discrimination.
Despite Slater’s departure, Douglas alleges that Fox News executives were cognizant of Slater’s behavior long before her firing but were reluctant to let her go because “she knows too much,“ referencing the alleged financial improprieties of the Fox chairman Roger Ailes and former chief financial officer Mark Kranz. According to recently amended court filings, Slater has been quoted as calling Douglas’s Brooklyn neighborhood “the murder capital of the world” and expressed an “unwillingness to even be near black people.”
As if that wasn’t enough of a headache for the network, two prominent advertisers, Mercedes-Benz and Hyundai, have pulled their ads from Fox New’s most popular primetime program, The O’Reilly Factor, following a report that five settlements have been made to women who alleged sexual harassment or verbal abuse against the show’s host. Despite O’Reilly’s insistence that these cases have no merit, the New York Times reported earlier this week that the settlements total some $13 million.
Hyundai cites these “recent and disturbing allegations” as its reason for bowing out, adding that it will continue to monitor the situation as it plans future advertising. Mercedes-Benz’s statement echoes Hyundai’s, adding that, given the importance of women in every aspect of its business, it doesn’t "feel this is a good environment in which to advertise [our] products right now.”
Between 2014 and 2016, The O’Reilly Factor generated $446 million in ad revenue. The show is also coming off it’s highest-rated quarter in history, with roughly four million nightly viewers. But after reaching out to more than 20 companies that have advertised with O’Reilly’s show, competitor CNNMoney is reporting others companies may follow suit.
Lexus said in a statement, "We take our duties as a responsible advertiser seriously, and seek to partner with organizations who share our company culture and philosophy of respect for all people…We will continue to monitor the situation and will take any appropriate action through our media buying partners.” Another prominent advertiser, Jenny Craig, said its organization “condemns any and all forms of sexual harassment” but declined to comment further. Other advertisers commented that they too were simply going to continue monitoring the matter before making a decision.
Not surprising, O’Reilly has not addressed the settlements on his show, though Fox News’s parent company, 21st Century Fox did say it “takes matters of workplace behavior very seriously.” It also stated that none of the accusers used a company hotline to report any improper behavior, which makes their accusations skeptical. Despite O’Reilly’s sordid history of shady settlements, as well as the numerous allegations against him, the company is extending his $18 million annual contract, which was set to expire this year. It’s been reported that the company knew of the multiple settlements when they offered O’Reilly an extension.