Fox News contributor Julie Roginsky filed a lawsuit today against the Fox News Channel, former CEO Roger Ailes, and current co-president Bill Shine in New York Supreme Court for gender discrimination, harassment, and workplace retaliation.
The longtime network paid contributor claims in legal papers that Ailes allegedly sabotaged her career after she rebuffed his sexual advances and then lodged internal complaints in violation of the New York City Human Rights Law.
The complaint further alleges that Roginsky lost out on the chance to become a regular co-host of The Five, the popular FNC political roundtable that airs Monday through Friday at 5 p.m. Eastern because she rejected Ailes.
“The suit says Ailes encouraged…Roginsky to date older, married men, repeatedly praised her looks and sought to get her to join him for drinks, even in his office, away from prying eyes that could get them ‘into so much trouble,'” NPR reported.
Roginsky, a liberal Democrat and political strategist for several high-profile lawmakers, appeared on Fox News as recently as Saturday, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer/Daily News.
The owner of her her political consulting and public relations firm is being represented by the same law firm as Gretchen Carlson, the ex-network personality who walked away with a $20 million settlement from the network. Roginsky also claims that she got into hot water for refusing to join “Team Roger” and criticize Gretchen Carlson when the Carlson allegations surfaced.
Ailes exited FNC in July 2016 after an internal investigation into Carlson’s accusations and those of other women.
“Roginsky says she’s appeared on Fox News since 2005 and became a regular in 2011. Her contract was renewed three times, according to the complaint. She began appearing on The Five after the departure of Bob Beckel,” The Hollywood Reporter recalled.
Beckel recently returned to the show to occupy the “liberal” chair in which he typically alternates with Juan Williams. Roginsky stayed on the The Five regular rotation, however, during the 2015 time frame. She also frequently appeared on Outnumbered, which airs at noon Eastern as well as other programs on both Fox News and the Fox Business Channel.
FNC has yet to respond to the latest sexual harassment lawsuit (watch this space for updates), but Ailes’ lawyer Susan Estrich, a well-known Democrat who managed Michael Dukakis’ unsuccessful presidential campaign back in the day, deemed the allegations “total hogwash.”
“In the suit, Ms. Roginsky also stated that she discussed her complaints in a meeting with Mr. Shine and another top network executive during a meeting in November, months after Mr. Ailes was dismissed in July,” the New York Times indicated about the latest sexual harassment controversy surrounding Fox News and Roger Ailes.
“Roginsky also contends she was never advised to contact the law firm that Fox News enlisted to investigate sexual harassment claims within the company, even though she had made her issues with Ailes known to management,” the Los Angeles Times detailed.
As with all court complaints regardless of subject matter, they only give a one-sided rendition of the facts. It remains to be seen if Julie Roginsky can establish sufficient evidence in the legal context to support her claims.
On Saturday, the New York Times published an expose claiming that O’Reilly Factor host Bill O’Reilly and/or his network wrote checks totaling $13 million to allegedly settle five different harassment complaints. In a statement, O’Reilly responded that he is vulnerable to lawsuits, and without commenting on any specific allegation, indicated that he has settled some controversies confidentially for family reasons.
Earlier this month, Fox News reportedly paid former contributor Tamara Holder $2.5 million to settle a complaint that a former network vice president, since terminated, tried to force himself on her in February 2015 when they were alone in his office.
[Featured Image by Richard Drew and Charles Sykes/AP Images]