March 9, 2017
Fox News Settles Sexual Harassment Complaint With Former Commentator

Fox News has reportedly paid former contributor Tamara Holder about $2.5 million to settle her sexual assault claim.

Holder, a liberal lawyer from Chicago, is probably best known for often providing a counterpoint for Sean Hannity's conservative views on his nightly FNC program as well as appearances on other FNC shows. Her contract with the top-rated cable news network ended on January 1.

According to the New York Times, Holder, 37, claims that a Fox News executive allegedly tried to force himself on her in an incident that occurred about two years ago.

"[The exec] tried to force her to perform oral sex on him in February 2015 when the two were alone in his office, according to interviews with four people briefed on her account, and documents that detail her claims. Ms. Holder did not immediately report the episode to the company or the police, fearing that doing so would ruin her career, interviews and documents show. Ms. Holder reported her allegations to Fox News last fall. The network investigated her claims, and the executive, Francisco Cortes, the vice president for Fox News Latino, was terminated, according to two people familiar with the matter. Ms. Holder left Fox News after her contract expired on January 1, 2017."
Fox reportedly originally offered Holder $300,000 in severance, which amounted to her pay for one year, but Holder turned it down and hired an attorney.

Explosive sexual harassment allegations brought in court by Gretchen Calson, previously the anchor of The Real Story with Gretchen Carlson (and Fox & Friends co-host before that), against CEO Roger Ailes led to his departure from the network in July 2016. Carlson received a $20 million, out-of-court settlement according to various news accounts at the time.

FNC has reportedly since entered into confidential settlements with several other women. Ailes has consistently denied any allegations of impropriety and reportedly exited the media giant with a $40 million golden parachute. He has insisted that Carlson's contract went unrenewed because of her show's low ratings.

Fox News and Tamara Holder released a joint statement about the resolution of the matter, The Hill detailed.
"In September 2016 Fox News contributor Tamara Holder reported an incident of sexual assault at Fox News headquarters from the prior year. Immediately after Ms. Holder notified Fox News of the alleged incident, the Company promptly investigated the matter and took decisive action, for which Ms. Holder thanks the network. Following the completion of her contract on January 1, 2017, Ms. Holder left the network. Fox News is grateful to Ms. Holder for her many contributions during her tenure at the network and wishes her continued success."
Fox News is still locked into a bitter legal dispute with political pundit Andrea Tantaros who has been off the air since April 2016. The fan-favorite, ex-Outnumbered co-host claims that she was suspended in retaliation for complaining to high-level executives there about alleged sexual harassment by Ailes. She also leveled accusations of misbehavior at other Fox News personalities.

Ailes and Fox have denied the allegations, and the channel insists that the original suspension came because Tantaros failed to get the required pre-approval for a book manuscript, and plus, that the popular analyst never lodged internal complaints about sexual harassment.

The case is headed to close-door, binding arbitration as stipulated by the Tantaros employment contract, unless a settlement should somehow emerge.

Fox supposedly also quietly settled a sexual harassment claim in the high six figures with former on-air personality Juliet Huddy who reportedly accused anchor Bill O'Reilly of sexual harassment, LawNewz claimed in January.

Tamara Holder perhaps is most remembered for a cringe-worthy exchange with reality star and Trump surrogate Omarosa on Maria Bartiromo's Fox Business Channel show in February of last year.

In an email, Tamara Holder reaffirmed that "Yes, I was sexually assaulted. Immediately after I told the company where I worked about the incident, it promptly investigated the matter and took action, which I appreciate," the Times added.

[Featured Image by Mark Lennihan/AP Images]