Suzanne Scott, who has been named CEO of Fox News and Fox Business, has been referenced in a racial discrimination lawsuit against the network, has reportedly taken part in enforcing the network’s sexist culture, and allegedly assisted in retaliation campaigns against employees who reported sexual harassment.
Update (5/17/18): Fox News named Suzanne Scott chief executive officer of Fox News and Fox Business.
Scott, who has been with the network since its inception in 1996, will report jointly to Lachlan Murdoch and Rupert Murdoch, the 21st Century Fox executive chairman, executive chairman of Fox News and co-chairman of the proposed New Fox.
“Suzanne has been instrumental in the success of FOX News and she has now made history as its first female CEO. Her vision and innovation have helped create some of the most popular and lucrative primetime programs on cable and as we embark on the era of the proposed New Fox, I am confident that Suzanne’s leadership will ensure the dominance of both FOX News & FBN for years to come," Lachlan Murdoch said.
Fox Replaces Bill Shine With Suzanne Scott
Fox News Replaces Co-President Bill Shine, Who Resigned Amid Reports He Enabled Harassment, With Suzanne Scott And Jay Wallace. Fox News co-president Bill Shine resigned May 1 amid reports that he helped cover up harassment allegations, including against former CEO Roger Ailes. According to CNN, “Suzanne Scott, currently an executive vice president, will take on some of Shine's duties with a new title, president of programming, overseeing opinion shows like ‘The Five’ and ‘Hannity.’ Jay Wallace will do the same thing on the news side as president of news.” [CNN.com, 5/1/17]
NPR’s David Folkenflik: “Some Current/Former Women At Fox News Are Reacting Viscerally” To News Of Scott’s Promotion, Calling Her “Just As Bad As The Rest.”
Scott Has A History At Fox Of Reportedly Ignoring Racial Discrimination And Sexual Harassment, Retaliating Against Complainants, And Enforcing Its Sexist “Aesthetic”
Racial Discrimination Lawsuit: Scott Knew Of Concerns About Racial Discrimination At Fox But “Nothing Was Ever Done To Remedy The Discrimination.” According to a racial discrimination lawsuit filed against Fox News, Fox anchor Kelly Wright said he reported discrimination and marginalization to Shine, in-house lawyer Dianne Brandi, and Scott, specifically telling them that Fox is “too blonde and too White and needs more diversity. But, according to the suit, the complaints fell “on deaf ears,” and “Nothing was ever done to remedy the discrimination.” From the lawsuit:
Mr. Wright has complained about this discriminatory treatment to Shine, Brandi, and Suzanne Scott (Executive Vice President of Programming and Development) (“Scott”), but his complaints have fallen on deaf ears and no remedial action has been taken. On numerous occasions, Mr. Wright has offered to increase coverage and outreach to minority communities in an effort to bridge the racial divide and to counter the insensitivity to People of Color frequently portrayed by Fox News. Sadly, there was no advancement of Mr. Wright’s ideas and proposals.
Wright has made many complaints regarding discrimination at Fox and his marginalization, including to Shine, Brandi and Scott. Mr. Wright specifically emphasized that
Fox is “too blonde and too White” and needs more diversity and that he is being discriminated against based on his race. Nothing was ever done to remedy the discrimination.
Mr. Wright has complained about this discriminatory treatment to Shine, Brandi, and Suzanne Scott (Executive Vice President of Programming and Development) (“Scott”), but his complaints have fallen on deaf ears and no remedial action has been taken. On numerous occasions, Mr. Wright has offered to increase coverage and outreach to minority communities in an effort to bridge the racial divide and to counter the insensitivity to People of Color frequently portrayed by Fox News. Sadly, there was no advancement of Mr. Wright’s ideas and proposals. [New York Supreme Court, 4/25/17]
Scott Is Listed As A Defendant In Former Fox Host Andrea Tantaros’ Lawsuit Against Fox News. According to former Fox host Andrea Tantaros’ August 2016 lawsuit, after Tantaros raised her sexual harassment concerns with Suzanne Scott, “the retaliation intensified” to the point where Tantaros was taken off the air. The lawsuit also states that Scott “ignored Tantaros’s complaint” about former Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA). From the lawsuit:
As detailed below, when Tantaros refused to follow Shine’s instruction and began complaining even more vociferously to Shine, Defendant Dianne Brandi (“Brandi”) (Fox News’s chief in-house lawyer), and Defendant Suzanne Scott (“Scott”) (head of programming at Fox News), the retaliation intensified to the point where, in April 2016, Brandi sent a letter to Tantaros’s counsel, Cane, informing him that Tantaros was being removed from appearing on the air based upon the outrageously false and pretextual claim that Tantaros’s still unpublished book had been written in violation of Fox News’s rules for books authored by Fox News employees. Even more incredibly, Brandi accused Tantaros of manufacturing claims of sexual harassment to deflect attention from Fox News’s absurd objections in her book.
On or about August 18, 2015, former Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown (“Brown”) appeared on Outnumbered. Brown made a number of sexually inappropriate comments to Tantaros on set, including, and in a suggestive manner, that Tantaros “would be fun to go to a nightclub with.” After the show was over, Brown snuck up behind Tantaros while she was purchasing lunch and put his hands on her lower waist. She immediately pulled back, telling Brown to “stop.” Tantaros then immediately met with Shine to complain, asking him to ensure that Brown would never be booked on the show again. Shine said that he would talk to Scott. Thereafter, Shine and Scott ignored Tantaros’s complaint, and continued to book Brown on Outnumbered [New York Supreme Court, 8/22/16]
Scott Ignored Tantaros’ Sexual Harassment Claims Against Roger Ailes. An affidavit filed by Tantaros’ therapist corroborated part of the lawsuit, stating that when Tantaros “sought relief from the retaliation and the improper behavior at Fox by requesting a meeting with … Scott,” her “complaints were ignored.” [The Daily Beast, 9/28/16]
Roginsky Lawsuit: Both Shine And Scott “Took No Action To Investigate” Reports Of Harassment And Retaliation. While Scott was not listed as a defendant in Fox host Julie Roginsky’s lawsuit against the network, the suit says that after Roginsky “personally recounted the harassment and retaliation by Ailes, Shine and Scott took no action to investigate” and neither of them “advised Roginsky to speak to anyone at Paul Weiss.” From the lawsuit:
Despite Brandi's knowledge that Roginsky had been sexually harassed by Ailes, neither Brandi, Shine, Suzanne Scott, McGlowan, nor anyone else at Fox News advised Roginsky to contact attorneys at the Paul Weiss law firm who were reportedly investigating Ailes' pattern of sexual harassment at Fox News. Nor did anyone at Paul Weiss ever contact Roginsky.
Even after the November 29, 2016 meeting during which Roginsky personally recounted the harassment and retaliation by Ailes, Shine and Scott took no action to investigate. Neither Shine nor Scott advised Roginsky to speak to anyone at Paul Weiss. No one from Paul Weiss contacted Roginsky. [Politico, 4/3/17]
Roginsky Lawsuit: Scott “Sought To Recruit Fox News Employees And Contributors To Retaliate Against [Gretchen] Carlson By Publicly Disparaging Her.” According to Roginsky’s lawsuit, after former Fox host Gretchen Carlson made her sexual harassment and retaliation complaint against Ailes, “Suzanne Scott … as well as others, sought to recruit Fox News employees and contributors to retaliate against Carlson by publicly disparaging her.” From the lawsuit:
In July 2016, when former Fox News host Gretchen Carlson filed a sexual harassment and retaliation complaint against Ailes, Fox News employees including contributor and Ailes' confidante Angela McGlowan, Executive Vice President for Programming Suzanne Scott and on-air host Kimberly Guilfoyle, as well as others, sought to recruit Fox News employees and contributors to retaliate against Carlson by publicly disparaging her. They characterized this retaliatory onslaught as supporting “Team Roger.” [Politico, 4/3/17; Smith Mullin, 7/6/16]
Scott Was Reportedly Involved In Attempts To Keep Former Booking Director Laurie Luhn Quiet About Sexual Harassment. According to a report from New York magazine’s Gabriel Sherman, when Roger Ailes became worried that Fox employee Laurie Luhn would “go public with her story [of harassment] or cause a scene,” the “Fox machine really kicked into gear. Luhn told Sherman that when she an emotional breakdown en route to vacation, Scott picked her up from the airport, and according to Luhn, checked her into a hotel under Scott’s name. [New York magazine, 9/2/16]
Former Fox Staffer: At Fox, Scott “Enforces” An “Aesthetic” For Female Hosts That Includes “Skimpy Dresses” And High Heels. The Daily Beast reported in the wake of Carlson’s sexual harassment lawsuit that, according to a former Fox staffer, Scott “enforces with the wardrobe and makeup departments an aesthetic that features skimpy dresses, high-heeled open-toed shoes, and big hair for the channel’s on-air women.” [The Daily Beast, 7/6/16]
This post has been updated following the news that Scott would be appointed CEO of FNC and FBN.