The sexual harassment scandal at Fox News Channel continued on Monday, with a contributor alleging that the network’s co-founder pressured her for sex and its current co-president retaliated against her.
Julie Roginsky, who appeared frequently on Fox’s “The Five” program and is still with the network, filed a discrimination suit in New York against Roger Ailes, the ousted former chairman of Fox, and Bill Shine, its co-president.
Fox’s parent company, 21st Century Fox, removed Ailes last summer as the head of the network he co-founded amid allegations that he sexually harassed women employed by the network. His downfall was set in motion by a lawsuit filed by former Fox host Gretchen Carlson, who eventually settled her claims for $20 million.
Roginsky, 43, who began appearing on Fox as a commentator in 2004, is the latest to go public with allegations against Ailes and Shine, who was Ailes’s top newsroom deputy. She is represented by a law firm headed by Nancy Erika Smith, the attorney who represented Carlson in her suit.
Roginsky’s suit is potentially significant because it describes events that allegedly occurred after Ailes left Fox and after 21st Century vowed to clean up an apparent workplace culture of harassment. She alleges that Fox and Shine did not investigate her complaints after Ailes’s departure and did not refer them to a law firm that 21st Century Fox hired to look into employee harassment.
On Saturday, the New York Times disclosed that Fox star Bill O’Reilly and Fox have settled five harassment complaints against him by female employees since 2002, paying out a collective $13 million.
In her suit, Roginsky alleges that Ailes repeatedly sexually harassed her and sabotaged her career after she refused his advances. She further alleges that Shine retaliated against her because she refused to “malign” Carlson and join “Team Roger” when Carlson sued in July.
She says that Ailes made a promotion to a permanent spot on “The Five” contingent on a sexual relationship with him.
Fox had no immediate comment on Roginsky’s suit.
Roginsky, in her complaint, says Ailes would invite her to meet with him in private and “would frequently steer the conversation to Roginsky’s personal life by asking, among other things, if she was dating anyone, why she was not married, what she was looking for in a man, and remarking that he did not understand why she was still single since she was so attractive.” He allegedly told her that she should engage in sexual relationships with “older, married, conservative men” because “they may stray but they always come back because they’re loyal.”
During these meetings, Ailes allegedly sat in a low armchair and insisted on a greeting kiss that required Roginsky to bend down to kiss him. The complaint alleges that Ailes would “consistently position himself in such a way as to look down Roginsky’s dress.”
After Roginsky rebuffed Ailes’s advances, she was passed over for a regular spot on “The Five” in favor of Geraldo Rivera, according to the suit. She continued to appear in regular rotation on the daytime program “Outnumbered.”
The complaint says that Roginsky resisted pressure from Fox’s executives and colleagues to disparage Carlson after Carlson filed her discrimination suit.
In addition to Roginsky’s suit, Fox is facing a harassment claim filed by Andrea Tantaros, a former contributor to “The Five.”