Fox News Channel

Employee Lawsuit: Fox News is Cartoonishly Racist

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

Former chief Roger Ailes and primetime host Bill O'Reilly are gone, but Fox News still has very big problems.

According to New York Magazine, 7 additional black employees are joining a racial discrimination lawsuit against the network alleging that their complaints were ignored by network executives.

More disturbingly, these employees say racism in the workplace extended far beyond a pattern of ignoring racist rhetoric in the office. The new complaint says a Fox executive forced black employees to participate in some kind of cartoonishly-racist Mandingo fantasy.

According to the plaintiffs’ attorneys, [former comptroller Judy Slater] demanded that black female employees hold “arm wrestling matches’” with white female employees in her office, just down the hall from Ailes’s office on the second floor of Fox headquarters. “Forcing a black woman employee to ‘fight’ for the amusement and pleasure of her white superiors is horrifying. This highly offensive and humiliating act is reminiscent of Jim Crow era battle royals,” the letter says, referring to the practice of paying black men to fight blindfolded at carnivals for white spectators’ entertainment. The lawyers argue that Efinger bragged about wanting to “fight” a black employee.

Remember this?

This seemingly-accurate meme introduced into public consciousness by The Simpsons in 2010 may need to be revised. Fox News is racist, it's not just number one with racists. And it's not just casually or fleetingly racist, it's hardcore; it's Leonardo DiCaprio as Calvin Candie racist.

And I don't say this is "cartoonish" to make light of it. This is more audacious than anything I would have imagined.

  • muselet

    I’ve tried. Really, I have.

    I’ve tried to be shocked and appalled at every sordid revelation of the corporate culture at Fox News, but while I am still capable of being appalled, I’m unshockable.

    Bill O’Reilly was complicating Rupert Murdoch’s purchase of Sky Television, so O’Reilly had to go. I’d think (alleged) corporate racism like this would be as important to the regulators as a presenter’s sexual harassment.

    I wonder if Ofcom was sent a copy of the lawsuit.


    • JMAshby

      Murdoch is going to feel (more) pressure from executives at other Fox companies for allowing Fox News to shit all over their brand. Word is other executes at Fox films and Fox tv are pissed about the unaccountable culture of Fox News that would never be tolerated at their divisions of the company.

      It’s become abundantly clear that what Fox News projects to the world is a direct reflection of their office and company culture. It’s not just a public face or something they’re selling to a gullible audience. Fox under Roger Ailes hired and protected some of the worst people in the world and that’s been reflected in their coverage of virtually everything for 20 years.

      Is it even possible to operate a feverishly right wing channel like Fox without hiring horrible people? I mean, it’s not necessarily easy to find people who will literally laugh at racism and poor people on national television.

      • muselet

        Murdoch will be able to withstand internal pressures for a while, at least until revelations about the FNC cesspit starts costing the other divisions money. Until then, he owns the companies, and if you don’t like the corporate culture, you’re free to leave.

        Is it even possible to operate a feverishly right wing channel like Fox without hiring horrible people? No. However, it is possible to hire horrible people who aren’t mustache-twirlers. For example, Hugh Hewett is a despicable creature, but he doesn’t shout and doesn’t call people names, and can do a fairly convincing imitation of a human being when he needs to do so.