You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Fox Lawyers Deny Harassing Culture Filtered to Local Stations

The harassment scandals at Fox News have the potential to create legal problems up and down the corporate ladder, as attorneys attempt to show a culture of indifference to the complaints of female employees.

Attorneys for 21st Century Fox are attempting to limit the damage, arguing in a legal brief filed today that the issues at Fox News cannot be used to sue Fox’s owned-and-operated local stations.

Lidia Curanaj, a reporter at Fox5 in New York, filed suit in December, alleging that she was denied an anchor position because she was “not attractive enough” and was discriminated against due to her Albanian heritage. Curanaj also alleged that Fox News’ then chief, Roger Ailes, turned her down for a job at the network after hearing she would not submit to his sexual demands.

Curanaj alleged that her superiors were taking their cues from Ailes. The suit alleges that the Fox5 news director, Byron Harmon, penned a soft-core novel titled “All the Women I’ve Loved,” about the exploits of a Fox5 executive producer. The suit alleges that the station overlooked Harmon’s behavior because it was consistent with the misogynistic culture of the parent company.

But in a motion for dismissal filed Monday, 21st Century Fox attorneys argue that Curanaj is an employee of Fox Television Stations, which has operations entirely distinct from those of the parent company. The motion seeks to strike all references to scandals involving Ailes and host Bill O’Reilly from the amended complaint.

The attorneys also state that 21st Century Fox employs women in top executive roles, demonstrating that it does not have a discriminatory corporate culture.

“Furthermore, plaintiff’s allegations about the parent company’s ‘misogynistic culture’ have no basis in reality,” the attorneys write. “Women occupy the highest ranks at other 21st Century subsidiaries: Dana Walden is the chairman and CEO of Fox Television Group and Stacey Snider is the chairman and CEO of 20th Century Fox Film.”

The company also accuses Curanaj of rehashing complaints against Ailes and O’Reilly in order to exploit a “front-page media frenzy” surrounding Fox News.

Curanaj’s attorneys have alleged that Fox sought to communicate that Fox News and its local affiliates were facets of a single brand — the “Fox worldwide platform.”

More TV

  • Series Mania: Q & A with

    Series Mania: ‘Hierro’ as ‘Southern Noir’ and an Industry Groundbreaker

    LILLE, France —  Banijay Rights-sold “Hierro” begins with sea, land, air and fire: Shots of the stunning volcanic isle of El Hierro, the most westerly point of Spain’s Canary Islands, with its black basalt rock, brown iron-rich gravel, white waves pummeling the coast, trees trunks twisted by wind and lava, a juniper bent double by [...]

  • Shekhar Kapur to Direct 'Ibis' Trilogy

    Shekhar Kapur to Direct 'Ibis' Trilogy for Endemol Shine (EXCLUSIVE)

    Acclaimed Indian director, Shekhar Kapur is to direct a TV series for Endemol Shine based on historical novels by Amitav Ghosh, known as the “Ibis Trilogy.” The deal was announced at Series Mania in Lille. The books “Sea of Poppies,” “River of Smoke,” and “Flood of Fire,” are set in mid-19th century Asia. They interweave [...]

  • ‘Lambs Of God’ To World Premiere

    Lingo Pictures, Endemol Shine’s ‘Lambs of God’ Set for Series Mania World Premiere

    LILLE, France — Lingo Pictures Productions and Endemol Shine’s new Australian limited series “Lambs of God,” based on the Australian novel of the same name by Marele Day, world premieres on Wednesday, March 27 in the main International Competition at this year’s Series Mania festival. The series follows three devout nuns, the last sisters of [...]

  • Bruno DEBRANDT (Florent) et Julie GAYET

    Federation Acquires Intl. Sales Rights on Series Mania French Competition Player ‘Torn’

    LILLE, France — Leading French independent production-finance-distribution sales company Federation Entertainment has secured international sales rights on upcoming French psychological thriller “Torn.” The series was created and written by director Lionel Bailliu (“Innocente”)and Yann Le Gal (“Léo Mattéï, Brigade des Mineurs”) and world premieres in the official French competition on March 25 at France’s Series [...]

  • About Premium Content Expands Scope, Rebrands

    About Premium Content Expands Scope, Rebrands as APC Studios (EXCLUSIVE)

    As it celebrates its fifth anniversary, the rising Paris-based TV production and distribution company About Premium Content is rebranding as APC Studios to reflect the expanded scope of its activities. APC Studios, which launched as a sales company in 2014, is now a producer, financier and distributor of upscale projects ranging from scripted to factual [...]

  • Win Rosenfeld, Jordan Peele and Simon

    'Star Trek: Discovery,' 'Twilight Zone' Bring Energy, Emotion to PaleyFest

    Both the CBS All Access shows “Star Trek: Discovery” and the upcoming “Twilight Zone” reboot held PaleyFest panels on Sunday, with both sets of cast and creators bringing energy, humor, and emotion to the stage. Both panels were moderated by Variety‘s executive editor of TV, Daniel Holloway. First up was “Discovery,” where series star Doug [...]

  • Marvel's Runaways Review

    'Marvel's Runaways' Renewed for Third Season at Hulu

    Hulu has renewed “Marvel’s Runaways” for a third season. Set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, “Runaways” stars Rhenzy Feliz, Lyrica Okano, Virginia Gardner, Ariela Barer, Gregg Sulkin, and Allegra Acosta as the Runaways, six teenagers from different backgrounds who unite against their parents, the Pride, portrayed by Angel Parker, Ryan Sands, Annie Wersching, Kip Pardue, Ever Carradine, James Marsters, Brigid Brannagh, Kevin Weisman, Brittany Ishibashi, and James Yaegashi. The new order is [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content