February 22, 2019

Fox Settles Discrimination Lawsuits for Roughly $10 Million

The roughly $10 million agreement, while still a significant sum, is far less than the more than $60 million that Mr. Wigdor had proposed last summer. At the time, Mr. Wigdor had pointed out how 21st Century Fox had paid $40 million to Mr. Ailes and $25 million to Mr. O’Reilly, and said, “Outside the context of the mediation, any amount under what Ailes and O’Reilly got in total would be unjust.”

The deal called for Mr. Wigdor, along with a mediator, to provide a breakdown of how the money will be distributed to each plaintiff. According to a person briefed on the matter, one person received nothing, while others received large sums. The total $10 million payment includes lawyer fees, which typically come to about a third.

A confidentiality clause in the deal forbids the parties from discussing the payment amounts and other company information, including the compensation of and settlements with other employees, but does not prevent them from telling their stories.

Not included in the settlement are two other lawsuits involving clients of Mr. Wigdor, although he has filed motions to withdraw as the lawyer for both cases. That includes a defamation and racial-discrimination lawsuit against 21st Century Fox and Fox News that focused on an article about the death of Seth Rich, a young aide for the Democratic National Committee. The suit claims that the White House and a wealthy supporter of President Trump pushed Fox News to publish an article on its website as part of a scheme to end speculation about the president’s ties to Russia. The company has said that the case lacks merit.

Also excluded from the settlement was the lawsuit filed by the political commentator Scottie Nell Hughes, who claimed that she had been raped by the longtime anchor Charles Payne and was then retaliated against by the network after she came forward with the allegation. Mr. Payne, who remains on the air, has vehemently denied any wrongdoing.

Calling the lawsuit “bogus” and “downright shameful,” Fox filed a motion to dismiss the case. In recent weeks, the judge overseeing the cases in Federal District Court in Manhattan dismissed some of Ms. Hughes’s claims and upheld others.

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/15/business/media/fox-news-discrimination-lawsuits.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

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