Julie Roginsky, an on-air contributor on Fox News, filed a sexual harassment lawsuit Monday against the network, its co-president, and its former CEO, Roger Ailes.
According to Business Insider, the lawsuit alleges that Ailes requested private meetings with Roginsky, during which he would ask her about her personal and romantic life. The document also states that Ailes insisted upon kissing her hello at meetings, requiring her to bend over so he could peer down her shirt, The Chicago Tribune writes. Ailes reportedly recommended that Roginsky sleep with older, politically conservative men –and retaliated against Roginsky when she rejected his sexual advances.
Roginsky is a contributor on the Fox News series The Five, a roundtable political commentary show. Her lawsuit claims that Ailes implied she could secure a regular hosting gig on the series if she engaged in sexual behavior with him, and that he denied her the position when she refused.
The lawsuit also alleges that Fox News co-president Bill Shine “aided and abetted the discrimination” by “failing to take reasonable measures to protect Roginsky from, and condoning, the unlawful conduct.” Roginsky also says that although executives knew about her complaints against Ailes, they did not encourage her to speak to a law firm that had been hired to investigate his behavior.
Ailes resigned from his position at Fox News last summer, after facing a string of sexual harassment allegations. He has denied the accusations, and refuted Roginsky’s claims through his lawyer, Susan Estrich.
“The idea that Mr. Ailes would pressure Ms. Roginsky or any other women to have sexual relations with him is total nonsense,” Estrich said in a statement to Business Insider.
“In short, this copycat complaint is not about discrimination or retaliation. This is about someone who wants to pile-on in a massive character assassination in order to achieve what she did not accomplish on the merits.”
The lawsuit comes at a tumultuous time for Fox News. A bombshell report in The New York Times recently revealed that one of its star anchors, Bill O’Reilly, have paid some $13 million dollars in settling harassment suits brought by five women. Meanwhile, on Monday evening, two prominent sponsors pulled their advertisements from O’Reilly’s show in the wake of the settlement revelations. According to BuzzFeed, Mercedes-Benz and Hyundai discontinued their ad buys on the show. A spokesperson from Mercedes-Benz told BuzzFeed, “The allegations are disturbing and, given the importance of women in every aspect of our business, we don’t feel this is a good environment in which to advertise our products right now.” Tuesday morning, BMW joined the two other automakers by pulling its ads from the show, CNN reported. By Tuesday afternoon, the number of sponsors that were pulling out of O’Reilly’s show reached eight, BuzzFeed reported.
Read the full story at Business Insider.