An associate producer on Monday filed a lawsuit against Fox News Network, saying he was discriminated against because he was male and subjected to unwelcome sexual attention from an on-air personality.
Later that evening, Fox News star Judge Andrew Napolitano was reportedly fired from the network.
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John Fawcett, who works on the “Kudlow” show hosted by Larry Kudlow on Fox Business Network, claims in his lawsuit filed in state Supreme Court in Manhattan that “sexual harassment, sex discrimination, and racial discrimination are still tolerated at Fox.”
He said executives “will bend over backwards to protect such behavior so long as it is perpetrated by senior management or prominent on-air personalities.”
In a statement, Fox News Media said it had investigated and addressed Fawcett’s claim against the personality, and that his additional claims were “baseless and nothing more than a desperate attempt at a payday.”
Fawcett, 27, who was hired in March 2019, said he was in an elevator with Napolitano later that year when Napolitano stroked his arm and made suggestive comments. He said he told his then-boss, Lou Dobbs, who told a company executive but the executive was dismissive.
“Upon first learning of John Fawcett’s allegations against Judge Andrew Napolitano, Fox News Media immediately investigated the claims and addressed the matter with both parties. The network and Judge Napolitano have since parted ways. We take all allegations of misconduct seriously, are committed to providing a safe, transparent and collaborative workplace environment for all our employees and took immediate, appropriate action,” Fox News said in a statement.
“Furthermore, the additional allegations laid out in this claim are completely baseless and nothing more than a desperate attempt at a payday by trying the case in the court of public opinion as the complaint does not meet the standards of the law. We will defend the matter vigorously in court.”
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Fawcett also claimed that while working at Kudlow’s show, which he started working after Dobbs’ show was canceled, he has heard Kudlow use slurs and make sexually inappropriate remarks with no recrimination.
He also said the executive producer, a woman, discriminated against male staff in an effort to replace them with female staff, and that she tried to force Fawcett’s resignation or firing.
Fox denied the allegations and said it would “defend the matter vigorously in court.”
The Associated Press contributed to this article