Fox News Fined $1Million by New York’s Human Rights Commission

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Fox News has agreed to pay a million-dollar fine for human rights violations, according to a report by the Daily Beast.

“We are pleased to reach an amicable resolution of this legacy matter. Fox News Media has already been in full compliance across the board, but cooperated with the New York City Commission on Human Rights to continue enacting extensive preventive measures against all forms of discrimination and harassment,” Fox News Media said in a statement to Variety.

According to the Daily Beast, Fox News’ fine was based on a maximum penalty of $250,000 for four separate violations cited in the settlement. The investigation began in July 2016 after former CEO Roger Ailes was accused of sexual harassment by several female employees, reports of sexual misconduct were revealed to the media as a part of the #MeToo movement and former anchor Gretchen Carlson sued Ailes for sexual harassment.

The fine, assigned by New York City’s Commission on Human Rights,  forces Fox News to acknowledge past incidents of misconduct such as sexual harassment, discrimination and retaliation against employees, according to the Daily Beast. Fox News must also remove mandatory confidential arbitration clauses from the contracts of on-air anchors and employees when they file human rights legal claims outside of Fox News’ internal review process, the report states. The settlement also demands an overhaul for policies on reporting sexual harassment and retaliation, training on handling misconduct and compliance with human rights laws, according to Daily Beast. The Human Rights Commission will also monitor Fox News on a quarterly basis for two years to ensure its requests are met, says the report.

As part of the agreement, Fox News is expected to train all bystanders to intervene in any witnessed acts of misconduct and to report the incidents and to give all employees a clear definition of retaliation.

Ailes’ forced resignation and his sexual harassment allegations became worldwide news and shook up the media industry during the onset of the #MeToo era. Fox News, then parent company, 21st Century Fox launched an investigation into the allegations. After two senior Fox executives, Bill Shine and Jack Abernethy were placed in charge of Fox News, Suzanne Scott was named to head up a broader Fox News Media unit in 2018.

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