Major Network Reaches $15 MILLION Settlement – For What?
(FeaturedNews.com) – Fox News is reportedly paying a former anchor a considerable sum of money to end a lawsuit. Melissa Francis, a former Fox News and Fox Business host, said the network engages in gender disparity practices — and she can prove it. Rather than go to court, Fox opted to settle the matter for a whopping $15 million.
The Argument Isn’t Over
While a settlement would suggest that Fox may know its former employee has a strong case, the network is standing strong and declaring it did nothing wrong. In a statement to Mediaite, a spokesperson stated in no uncertain terms that the claims levied by Francis were categorically false. Furthermore, he noted the network has gone through a massive transformative process, and there are no gender disparity issues.
The spokesman pointed out that Francis left the network more than a year and a half ago and that she filed a report with the New York State Department of Labor about her claims. Fox is reportedly eager to have the issue investigated and put behind them.
Francis Tells a Different Story
According to Francis, former Fox Vice President for Legal and Business Affairs, Dianne Brandi told her that she would have to accept that women make less than men at the network because that’s just how things work. The same Fox spokesman also refuted those allegations, calling it preposterous that someone with Brandi’s experience and business savvy would say something so obviously stupid and incriminating.
However, the former anchor’s story doesn’t stop at contract negotiations. In 2017, after a promotion, she noticed the pay hike wasn’t quite what she expected. So she began researching the disparity in pay, creating charts, and gathering supporting evidence. When Brandi told her in 2019 that she would again see little in the way of a raise, she shared the research with the executive.
Francis later began the process of litigating her new contract. Her legal team asked Fox for records of what other hosts made, but the requests were denied. When an arbitrator sided with Francis and ordered Fox to hand over the documents, Fox canceled her program. The former host subsequently resigned from the network and filed a complaint with the state, alleging Fox retaliated against her for pointing out the gender pay gap.
Was There an Issue?
The $15 million settlement seemingly came out of nowhere, suggesting the network may believe Francis has a case. A lawyer not connected to the situation told the Washington Post that the network must have seen something in the evidence, leading them to believe they would lose. Ari Wilkenfeld, from the Atkinson Law Group in Bethesda, Maryland, thinks there had to be “convincing evidence” of pay gap issues.
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