Laura Ingraham | Media Matters for America

Laura Ingraham

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  • Fox’s Laura Ingraham sued by former personal assistant for pregnancy discrimination

    Another Fox News personality comes under fire

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    On April 20, The Washington Post reported that Laura Ingraham, host of Fox News’ The Ingraham Angle and her own eponymous radio show, is being sued by her former personal assistant Karolina Wilson for pregnancy discrimination. 

    Wilson’s is the latest of multiple lawsuits alleging either discrimination or harassment at the hands of Fox News or Fox Business personalities. In 2016, the network infamously lost its founder, Roger Ailes, after former Fox host Gretchen Carlson sued him for sexual harassment, prompting many more women to come forward with their stories. The following year, Fox fired its biggest star, Bill O’Reilly, after reporting revealed he paid $32 million in hush money for a previously unreported harassment report, which was “at least the sixth agreement” that O’Reilly or Fox entered into to silence his accusers. Other Fox employees have been reported as having committed sexual harassment, assault, and rape. And Fox itself is also facing a lawsuit from a former employee who says she was terminated in retaliation for getting pregnant.  

    This is not the first time Ingraham herself has been tied to allegations of professional misconduct. On August 31, The Daily Beast reported that seven former and then-current employees of Ingraham’s website LifeZette said it had turned into “a deeply uncomfortable place for women to work” because co-founder and CEO Peter Anthony would “repeatedly [make] sexually suggestive comments about female employees—sometimes within earshot of those female staffers.” Ingraham did not respond to The Daily Beast’s story, though Anthony said she was aware of the allegations.

    According to the Post, Wilson’s suit alleges that she worked for Ingraham “for nearly 16 months” without incident, until she told her in March 2017 that “she was pregnant with her first child” and that’s “when things began to become difficult,” with Ingraham reportedly “becoming hostile toward her.” Wilson says that Ingraham fired Wilson “on her first day back from maternity leave,” the Post reports. From the April 20 article:

    For nearly 16 months, Karolina Wilson worked as a personal assistant for Fox TV host Laura Ingraham. Wilson handled Ingraham’s scheduling, oversaw her travel arrangements, responded to emails and even worked with Ingraham’s household staff.

    [...]

    Then in March 2017, Wilson, now 28, announced that she was pregnant with her first child. And that, according to a lawsuit filed in D.C. Superior Court, is when things began to become difficult, with the ultimate result that she lost her job.

    Wilson is suing Ingraham and her company, Ingraham Media Group, alleging pregnancy discrimination under the District’s Pregnant Workers Fairness Act and its Family and Medical Leave Act.

    Ingraham, through her attorney, has denied the allegations.

    Wilson alleges that the conservative talk show host became hostile toward her once she became pregnant and then fired her on her first day back from maternity leave. Ingraham allowed Wilson to remain with the company for about three weeks so that Wilson could eventually collect unemployment insurance. During that time, Wilson alleges, the company refused to set up a private space for her to pump breast milk at office in Northwest Washington, and she had to go to her car in a nearby garage.

  • Laura Ingraham hosts anti-Semitic “Hotep Jesus” extremist to attack Starbucks’ diversity training

    Ingraham: “I played this on my radio show this morning, my producers and I were screaming … you sound like Chris Rock”

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    Fox’s Laura Ingraham hosted Bryan “Hotep Jesus” Sharpe, an anti-Semitic extremist who has appeared on white nationalist media platforms, after he mocked Starbucks’ decision to close its stores for racial bias training.

    Previously Sharpe claimed “I’d rather align with a racist white than a cry baby black,” appeared on white nationalist radio station Red Ice TV, and justified Heather Heyer’s death at the hands of a white nationalist, writing “if there was no anti-protest there would have been no clash. Deandre Harris wouldn’t be hurt and Heather Heyer wouldn’t have been murdered. Fact!” From the April 18 edition of Fox News’ The Ingraham Angle:

    LAURA INGRAHAM (HOST): In the "Angle," I told you about someone who wanted to see just how far Starbucks liberal guilt would go. His video has gone completely viral, so we asked comedian-provocateur Bryan Sharpe to join us this evening, and there he is. Hey Bryan, how are you?

    BRYAN SHARPE: Hey, Laura. How are you?

    INGRAHAM: You totally fooled me, okay? Because I played this on my radio show this morning, my producers and I were screaming, we were like, “This sounds” -- if I didn't know better, it sounds like -- you sound like Chris Rock. You -- it’s so funny, and that poor girl in Starbucks is ready to turn over the keys to the shop to you, she was so worried.

  • Laura Ingraham’s attack on David Hogg is nothing new. Fox has been mocking students and children for years. 

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    Sarah Wasko / Media Matters

    On March 28, Fox News host Laura Ingraham tweeted a link to a Daily Wire article pointing out that Parkland survivor David Hogg was rejected by several colleges and accused him of whining about it. Ingraham’s attack on the teenage mass-shooting survivor is far from a shocking development given her and her Fox News colleagues' repeated slandering of the shooting victims. 

    In the month and a half since the shooting in Parkland, FL, Ingraham herself has said the Parkland students should not be given “special consideration” on gun policy; told her viewers that the March 14 student walkout wasn’t some sort of “organic outpouring of youthful rage,” but rather “nothing but a left-wing, anti-Trump diatribe”; and complained that anti-abortion protesters didn’t get the same attention. Two of Fox’s other primetime hosts, Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson, both dismissed the students as pawns being manipulated by gun control advocates. Carlson went a step further, calling the students “self-righteous kids” who “weren’t helping at all” and comparing them to Mao's Red Guards. The Federalist’s Mollie Hemingway, who is also a Fox News contributor, dismissed the students as just “children, not founts of wisdom,” and Fox & Friends Weekend host Pete Hegseth responded to the student-organized March For Our Lives by angrily commenting, “Spare me if I don't want to hear the sanctimoniousness of a 17-year-old.” Fox’s sustained and hostile attacks on students in the aftermath of the Parkland shooting fit right into the network’s years-long pattern of insulting and belittling students and children.

    Fox’s attacks on students and children go back years

    In 2017, two Fox employees attacked 8-year-olds in the course of five months. In May, after a young boy followed Vice President Mike Pence to ask for an apology for bumping into him, Tammy Bruce called the child a “snowflake” who “needed a safe space” and said he “pretty much stalked the vice president afterward.” Months later, Rachel Campos-Duffy smeared a football team of 8-year-olds as “shameful” for kneeling during the national anthem at a football game.

    Fox figures have consistently insulted college students and mocked them for attempting to make changes to their colleges and universities. A 2012 Fox panel dismissed students as “immature and irrational” after they attempted to persuade their school to divest from fossil fuels. In 2015, Fox contributor Judith Miller insulted student protesters, asking, “You want a safe space? Stay in your playpen,” and Fox anchor Martha MacCallum dismissed students’ push for safe spaces in response to racial injustice, suggesting that “if they want to see the violation of a safe space,” then they should “visit ground zero.” In 2016, then-Fox contributor George Will labeled students “snowflakes, these fragile little creatures who melt at the first sign of the heat of controversy.” Fox host Kimberly Guilfoyle laughed at students’ activism on offensive terminology and mockingly asked if an injured horse should “get a lawyer because the horse is offended” by being called “lame.” In September 2017, a Fox contributor derided college students who sought mental health care and compared them to teenage soldiers in WWII. Just two months ago, Fox & Friends ran a selectively edited hit piece against college students created by the conservative activist group Campus Reform. The show further edited the video and showed students' responses without giving sufficient context to the nature of the questions posed to them, making the students look ill-informed.

    Fox personalities have targeted some of the most vulnerable students with vicious, racist, and anti-LGBT attacks

    In 2015, Fox personalities repeatedly besmirched 14-year-old Ahmed Mohamed, a Texas student arrested after bringing a homemade clock mistaken for a bomb to school. Then-Fox reporter Anna Kooiman claimed that Mohamed “might not be as innocent as he seems,” backing up her claim by noting that teen was once caught “blowing bubbles in the bathroom” at school. Fox contributor Mark Fuhrman, famous for committing perjury and spewing racial epithets during the OJ Simpson trial, assured viewers that he didn’t “feel sorry for Ahmed,” adding that the child seemed “passive aggressive” to him. Another contributor, Mike Gallagher, repeatedly compared Mohamed’s homemade clock to a bomb and suggested that the student should have been more "forthcoming" when he was interrogated by the police. And Brian Kilmeade asked whether Mohamed might be “extort[ing]” his former school district by suing.  

    Fox often attacks children who have immigrated to the United States or whose parents are immigrants. Fox personalities have repeatedly used the derogatory term “anchor baby” to belittle the children of immigrants. Tucker Carlson once responded to the notion that it is the United States' legal obligation to educate children who come into the country by saying, "But what about the rights of the kids who were born here?” Fox Business Networks’ Brenda Buttner questioned whether parents should be concerned with "a surge of up to 60,000 illegal kids in their classrooms." Buttner exclaimed, "Forget the Ebola scare. Is it really the back to school scare?" In 2016, Fox’s Heather Nauert and Brian Kilmeade slammed several refugee students who sued a school district in Pennsylvania after alleging their educational needs weren’t being met. Kilmeade smeared the students as “ungrateful,” and Nauert mocked their request, commenting that “going to our schools for free” was “apparently… not good enough for them.”

    Fox hosts have also used their shows to attack transgender students. In 2013, during a conversation about a California bill aimed at allowing transgender students to use facilities and play on sports teams that correspond to their gender identities, Fox host Greg Gutfeld mocked the “gender-confused students” that would benefit from the bill. Two years later, in 2015, then-Fox host Megyn Kelly asserted that accepting transgender students causes “confusion” for other students.

    Fox employees have also gone after other groups of students. In 2014, Fox News' "Medical A-Team" member Dr. Keith Ablow claimed that middle school girls can "certainly provoke" harassment by wearing leggings to school. In 2015, Megyn Kelly labeled a group of protesters in Missouri “angry black students.” That same year, the hosts of Fox News’ Outnumbered lamented that overweight children are allowed to feel confident in their bodies. Fox’s Sandra Smith bemoaned that kids “feel good about themselves when they shouldn’t.”

    As David Hogg demands accountability for Laura Ingraham’s bullying, it is clear that Ingraham’s behavior was not a mistake or an anomaly, but representative of her network at large.

  • Lauren Hogg and David Hogg fight back against Laura Ingraham’s bullying

    David Hogg is calling for people to contact Ingraham’s Fox News advertisers. Here are some recent ones.

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    Sarah Wasko / Media Matters

    Since the February 14 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Fox News host Laura Ingraham has been one of the main right-wing figures touting assault weapons as “safe” and attacking the student survivors:

    • Ingraham said the Parkland, FL, students should not be given “special consideration” on gun policy, arguing that their “pain and loss” was being exploited.
    • Ingraham told her viewers that the March 14 student walkout wasn’t some sort of “organic outpouring of youthful rage,” saying it was “nothing but a left-wing, anti-Trump diatribe.”
    • Ingraham blamed “mental illness”and “broken or damaged families” for the shooting.
    • Hours after the Parkland shooting, Ingraham defended the murder weapon as “so safe.”
    • Ingraham used Parkland survivors to call for more attention to anti-abortion protests.

    Then, on March 28, Ingraham tweeted a link to a Daily Wire article saying Parkland survivor David Hogg was rejected by some colleges. Ingraham accused Hogg of whining about it:

    David Hogg’s sister Lauren Hogg responded:

    David Hogg then called for followers to contact Ingraham’s advertisers:

    Media Matters President Angelo Carusone noted two of Ingraham’s major advertisers, Liberty Mutual and Bayer:

    Hogg tweeted #ShutUpAndBeObjective, a reference to Ingraham previously telling athletes like LeBron James and Kevin Durant to "shut up and dribble." There was a significant backlash to those remarks.

    Ingraham tried to walk back her comments on Hogg:

    Hogg refused to back down:

    Advertisers NutrishTripAdvisorWayfairExpediaNestleJos A BankJohnson & JohnsonHuluStitch FixJenny CraigOffice DepotHonda, Liberty Mutual, Principal, Miracle-Ear, Ruby Tuesday, and AtlantisEntertainment Studios, and Bayer have made statements about future ads not appearing on Ingraham's program. In addition to those, here's a list of other advertisers of Ingraham’s, should anyone want to contact them.