Julie Roginsky, a current and prominent Fox News contributor went public on Monday alleging sexual harassment by Ailes along with gender discrimination and retaliation from current executives Bill Shine, Dianne Brandi, and Suzanne Scott. Previous lawsuits against the ex-CEO were filed by former or sidelined staffers.
She filed the suit in New York State Supreme Court, with Fox News, Ailes, and Shine as defendants.
According to Rogsinky, a paid Fox News contributor since 2011, Ailes made a regular hosting gig on Fox’s 5 p.m. gabfest The Five “contingent upon having a sexual relationship” with him. When she refused to comply, Ailes and Fox’s executive team allegedly aided and abetted retaliations against her, including not giving her the promised promotion.
Additionally, Roginsky claims, when she refused to publicly disparage Ailes’s first accuser, former anchor Gretchen Carlson, the retaliations continued.
Roginsky began on The Five in early 2015 as the show’s sole liberal panelist after Bob Beckel was yanked from his hosting duties.
The former Fox chief took notice and reportedly began calling her into his office for one-on-one meetings, praising her work before steering conversation towards her personal life. The suit alleges that he would ask Roginsky, a 43-year-old single mother, “why she was still single since she was so attractive.”
Ailes also allegedly advised her to date “older, married, conservative men” because “they may stray but they always come back because they're loyal." Combined with comments about how “loyalty is a two-way street,” Roginsky took these remarks to be suggestive of his desire for a sexual relationship with her.
Later on, after it became clear that Beckel would not return to the show, in spring 2015, Roginsky claims Ailes began toying with the idea of making her a permanent host. However, he allegedly supplemented such overtures with invitations to have a drink with him in private. When she rebuffed his advances, Ailes dismissed her and allegedly refused to meet with her again.
As to why she did not complain to Fox’s human resources department about the harassment, Roginsky’s lawyer notes that she knew full well that the news channel was “completely controlled” by Ailes and that “those who crossed him would be retaliated against by those who reported to him,” including Fox’s now-co-president Shine, its top in-house lawyer Brandi, programming executive Scott, and top flack/attack dog Irena Briganti.
A year later, when Carlson filed her lawsuit that ended Ailes’s career, several of his confidants—including Scott, host Kimberly Guilfoyle, and right-wing contributor Angela McGlowan—allegedly recruited the network’s female on-air roster to retaliate. Support “Team Roger,” they reputedly implored their colleagues, by publicly disparaging Carlson.
According to the lawsuit, Roginsky told McGlowan that she believed Carlson’s accusations because she, too, had been harassed in the past. As such, she refused to join “Team Roger,” and once again faced retaliation from management, knowing that McGlowan had reported back to the executive team.
Roginsky was apparently so distressed by the continued pressure to attack Carlson and defend Ailes—even when his cause appeared entirely lost—that she left the Republican National Convention a day early.
Even though Brandi had become aware of Roginsky’s own harassment claims, the suit contends, the top lawyer never investigated the accusations, nor did she recommend the attorneys at Paul, Weiss—the firm contracted by 21st Century Fox to investigate Ailes’s pattern of behavior—contact her for any information.
The lawsuit further implicates Shine, who was long considered to be Ailes’s right-hand man, in failing to investigate the many sexual-harassment accusations brought before him; and for engaging in “intentional discrimination, harassment and retaliation with malice and reckless indifference” to Roginsky by wilfully retaliating against her for her own claims.
Bizarrely, the suit also alleges that in private meetings with Roginsky, Shine repeatedly cited Showtime’s History of The Eagles to make the case that, just like the famously troubled band, Ailes was a “gift to the world” despite his serial sexual harassment.
Before signing a contributor deal with Fox News in 2011, Roginsky had appeared on the network since as far back as 2004.
This lawsuit is particularly unique in that—unlike previous suits from ex-staffers Gretchen Carlson, Tamara Holder, and Andrea Tantaros—Roginsky is still working at Fox. The weekend before filing this suit, she appeared on the Saturday politics-and-business talk show Bulls & Bears.