Two Attorneys Outline How Racial And Sexual Discrimination At Fox Should Impact The Murdochs' Bid For Sky News

Attorney Lisa Bloom: “The Good People Of The U.K. Value Women's Rights And Women's Equality. I Think They Value The Equal Rights Of People Of Color, And They Have The Right To Know About This.”

From the May 7 edition of CNN's Reliable Sources:

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BRIAN STELTER (HOST): Let me turn now to two of the attorneys who have been representing some of the accusers in this case. Some of the women who come forward accusing people at Fox of sexual harassment and other matters. These two lawyers are about to weigh in on the matter themselves. Both Douglas Wigdor and Lisa Bloom will be speaking in front of the British media regulator Ofcom this week. Why is that important? Because Ofcom will decide whether 21st Century Fox is “fit and proper” to purchase the part of the media giant Sky that they don't already own. The Murdochs have been wanting to buy the rest of Sky [News] for a long time, and the decision has to come down sometime between now and June. So let me bring in Doug and Lisa. Doug's here with me in New York. So Doug, let me start with you. You're representing 20 current or former Fox employees, some who are accusing the company of racial discrimination, others of sexual harassment. Is that right?

DOUGLAS WIGDOR: That's right. And I think it's important to go to Great Britain, because I remember back in 2011, I represented the maid in the Dominique Strauss-Kahn sexual assault rape case. I went to France to inform the French public about who their next president could be. And now we're on the precip of a big acquisition that 21st Century Fox might acquire Sky, and I have a great affinity and appreciation for the English people. I'm admitted to their courts, Her Majesty's Courts of England and Wales. My wife is English. We met at Oxford. And I think the British people have a right to know about the 20 people that I represent who have been discriminated against based on their race, who have been harassed and discriminated against based on their gender. They have a right to know about Monica Douglas, a cancer survivor who was called by Judy Slater a racist. She was called a “one-boob girl,” a “cancer girl.”

STELTER: Slater was the comptroller of Fox News. She was fired within two weeks of the company saying they learned of this.

WIGDOR: Well that's part of the cover-up, and the British public has a right to know about the cover-up.

STELTER: Cover-up?

WIGDOR: Yeah. So, Fox News said that within a couple of weeks of learning about Judy Slater's abhorrent behavior, they fired her. The problem is we have clients who go back to 2008 who notified Dianne Brandi, the chief law enforcement officer, about Judy Slater's conduct. Not only in 2008, 2010, 2012, 2014, and Dianne Brandi and Denise Collins, the head of HR, did nothing about Judy Slater because they thought she knew too much. She knew too much about [former Fox News CEO Roger] Ailes. She knew too much about [former Fox News host Bill] O'Reilly. She knew too much about all of the different things that were going on there. And so that is part of the cover-up, and they eventually walked that story back. They said that if you look at their second statement, their second statement said that they fired Judy Slater after being notified by her lawyers. Now, I don't see why it should require a lawyer's letter to fire somebody. They were on notice years and years prior. 

STELTER: So what's the status of your racial discrimination suit?

WIGDOR: Well, we have filed for a class action status that's going to make its way through the Bronx Supreme Court system. We're confident that a Bronx judge will ultimately certify as a class. And Fox has done everything they can to try and put blocks up. They hired a law firm that likes to sue victims, preemptive litigation. And they can't get away from the facts here, which is that even in our gender cases, we represent someone who went to -- for an interview with Roger Ailes. She was asked -- this is Lidia Curanaj -- she was asked to turn around. He said he liked what he saw. He called her boyfriend to ask how -- about how she was in bed and asked whether she put out. We have racist -- race claims about Judy Slater, where people walked in to say good night, and she'd put up her hands and say, “don't shoot,” mocking the Black Lives movement matter. We have people -- we have Judy Slater saying that the black employees were raising the health care premiums, that asking questions about one woman who had three children whether they were all fathered by the same person. The list just goes on and on and on. 

STELTER: So you'll be bringing this to London this week, telling the regulators about this. Let me ask Lisa about that, but also Lisa, you're flying to London as well. When will you be speaking to the regulators? What will you be sharing? 

LISA BLOOM: Right after the show I'm going to the airport, Brian, and I will be speaking to them tomorrow with my client Wendy Walsh, the very brave woman who came out publicly and helped us to topple O'Reilly. The question I think for the British regulators is is money the most important thing? Is money the only thing that matters? Because clearly with Fox News paying tens of millions of dollars to silence women over the years, they had enough money to continue to flout the law. They didn't mind when Bill O'Reilly sexually harassed Andrea Mackris in 2004, calling her on the phone. Reportedly, she had tapes of him in the middle of a sex act while he's calling her on the phone. That was OK. They kept Bill O'Reilly, and they drove her out. In 2011, when another woman had similar tapes, they kept Bill O'Reilly. They drove her out. Over and over again, they did that -- both with Roger Ailes, Bill O'Reilly, and other men, because they had enough money to do it. And I think the good people of the U.K. value women's rights and women's equality. I think they value the equal rights of people of color, and they have the right to know about this. I don't just represent people in court in sexual harassment cases, although I've done that for 30 years. I like to look at the bigger picture, and my clients want more. They want justice. They want some accountability, and I think there should be consequences for a giant company like this that's continued to flout the law against discrimination and harassment against women and people of color. 


Read Attorney Lisa Bloom’s Letter About Fox News’ Toxic Culture And Why It Should Tank Murdoch’s Sky News Deal 

Fox News Didn't Care About Sexual Harassment Until You Knew About It

Nine Black Employees Are Now Suing Fox News For Racial Harassment

Murdoch Takeover Of Sky Would Undermine British Broadcasting Standards, Joint Report Shows