Black employees allege discrimination by Fox, say bosses made them arm wrestle white colleagues

They say a manager forced them to arm wrestle white female employees for entertainment.

Posters featuring Fox News talent including one of Bill O’Reilly, second from right, are displayed on the News Corp. headquarters building in Midtown Manhattan, April 19, 2017. CREDIT: AP Photo/Mary Altaffer
Posters featuring Fox News talent including one of Bill O’Reilly, second from right, are displayed on the News Corp. headquarters building in Midtown Manhattan, April 19, 2017. CREDIT: AP Photo/Mary Altaffer

Last month, two black female employees of Fox — which, as you may have heard, is not exactly having a great year re: treatment of female employees by management — sued Fox News, alleging racial discrimination. The women, payroll manager Tichaona Brown and payroll coordinator Tabrese Wright, assert that Judith Slater, comptroller, subjected them to “top-down racial harassment.” As the New York Times reported, Slater was allegedly “making numerous racially charged comments, including suggestions that black men were ‘women beaters’ and that black people wanted to physically harm white people.”

This week, New York Magazine’s Gabriel Sherman is reporting that seven black Fox News employees plan to join that lawsuit. Though Slater was fired in February (after the litigation began), the payroll employees’ attorneys also insist that accounting director Tammy Efinger be removed from a supervisory role as well because she, too, was involved in the racist actions, allegedly laughing along with the statements by Slater instead of intervening.

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Maybe the most appalling of all alleged racist misdeeds of these managers, as Sherman reports: “Slater demanded that black employees hold ‘arm wrestling matches’ with white female employees in her office, just down the hall from Ailes’s office on the 2nd floor of Fox headquarters.”

As the letter from the employees’ attorneys reads, “Forcing a black woman employee to ‘fight’ for the amusement and pleasure of her white superiors is horrifying.”

Fox News has yet to comment.

This wave of bad press comes on the heels of the high-profile departure of Bill O’Reilly in the wake of sexual harassment allegations from a multitude of female employees. (Those who remain devoted to O’Reilly through this trying time — during which he was reportedly given a payout of $25 million — can still hear his dulcet tones in a new episode of his “No Spin News” podcast, available to premium subscribers to his website on Monday.)

And that wave of bad press came about a year after Roger Ailes resigned as chairman and and CEO of Fox News amid — you guessed it — allegations of sexual harassment. Gretchen Carlson’s lawsuit against Ailes, in which she described unwanted sexual advances by Ailes followed by his careful sabotaging of her career, opened a floodgate of similar allegations against Ailes by other female Fox employees. Ailes is reportedly being paid $60 million over some undetermined length of time. Let that be a lesson to all you boys out there: Being a sexual harasser never pays, unless your idea of payment is “tens of millions of dollars,” in which case, it’s actually quite a profitable enterprise.