Diana Falzone, who is billed as a former host of programming on FoxNews.com, filed a lawsuit Monday in New York State Supreme Court alleging gender and disability discrimination. In the suit, she made claims suggesting she was banned from taking part in on-air activities at Fox News three days after writing an article about how she suffered from endometriosis, a gynecological condition she said led to her infertility. Falzone said in the lawsuit that the article had been approved by the company before it was published.
A Fox News spokesperson could not be reached for immediate comment.
Falzone is working with Nancy Erika Smith, the attorney who handled former Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson’s sexual-harassment lawsuit against former Fox News chief Roger Ailes. Her allegations sparked an internal probe that led to Ailes’ ouster last year. Ailes has denied all charges.
In the suit, Falzone alleges a supervisor told her three days after her article ran in January of 2017 that he had been instructed by senior executives to ban her from ever appearing on FoxNews.com, and that she would never again be permitted to host her own shows, conduct her own interviews, appear on Fox TV, or even do voiceovers.
“The issues raised in Diana Falzone’s lawsuit are a concern for all women,” said Smith, a Montclair, NJ, attorney, in a prepared statement. “Fox News never banned her male counterparts who have discussed their personal health issues on air. Indeed, those men saw their careers advance,” said Smith.
According to the suit, Falzone asked several times asked why she was being treated in such a fashion. Her supervisor suggested she look for another job, according to the lawsuit. Falzone filed a formal complaint of discrimination through the 21st Century Fox hotline, but Fox declined to put her back on the air or otherwise redress her complaint, she alleged.
The suit adds to a growing batch of litigation levied against the highly-rated cable-news network. Fox News recently parted ways with Bill O’Reilly, its top primetime anchor, after reports surfaced that he had paid approximately $13 million in settlements to women who complained of sexual harassment or inappropriate behavior. Last week, eleven current and former Fox News employees filed a racial discrimination lawsuit against the netweork in the State Supreme Court of the Bronx (Fox News “vehemently denied” the claims). And federal investigators are examining whether Fox News made payments to former employees without disclosing them appropriately to investors in its parent company.