Fox News has had a rough time of it lately. After Bill O’Reilly was fired when advertisers pulled funding following accusations of sexual harassment, the thin facade hiding the sexist culture at the network came tumbling down. Andrea Tantaros filed a lawsuit against Fox for harassment, Jesse Watters was sent on a “vacation” following a lewd comment made about Ivanka Trump, and, most significantly, co-president Bill Shine was ousted on Monday following a petition by female Fox employees.
One of the many positives of this cleaning house trend is that other women have been empowered to come forward with their own complaints, including former Fox News reporter Diana Falzone. Falzone filed a gender-discrimination lawsuit against the network on Monday, claiming that the networked demoted her after she published an essay in January chronicling her struggles with endometriosis. According to the lawsuit:
“The male-dominated senior management of Fox News obviously objected to the fact that a female on-air host had disclosed that she suffers from a women’s reproductive-health condition, which, in their eyes, detracted from her sex appeal and made her less desirable.”
The idea that a woman’s level of sex appeal is essential to her job qualification is sexist in the extreme, but the fact that the network may have used the emotional and physical pain that Falzone endured against her is particularly repugnant. Falzone claims that her bosses at Fox signed off on publishing the essay, in which she explained her experience with endometriosis and infertility.
“It was just days after my 33rd birthday when my doctor delivered the worst news of my life: I will likely never have a child and fulfill my greatest wish of being a mother. When hit with the news that I am infertile, I could not stop crying. And not only was it very unlikely I’d ever conceive, my health was in jeopardy.”
Soon after the post went live, Falzone was informed that she was “permanently banned from ever appearing on air on any Foxnews.com, Fox News Network, Fox Business News Network or any other Fox News medium and would never again be permitted to host her own shows or conduct her own interviews.” While her supervisors Refet Kaplan and Chris Kensler declined to acknowledge the correlation, it’s hard to deny that the timing was very suspicious.
Honestly, if this is the kind of culture that Sean Hannity claims is at risk, change cannot come soon enough.
(Via NY Mag)