Tag Archives: sexual harassment

Fox Renewed O’Reilly Contract Despite Knowledge Of Sexual Harassment Allegations

NEW YORK (AP) — The parent company of the Fox News Channel says it knew a news analyst planned to file a sexual harassment lawsuit against Bill O’Reilly when it renewed the popular personality’s contract in February. The New York Times reported Saturday the company renewed O’Reilly’s contract after he reached a $32 million settlement with the analyst. In a statement, 21st Century Fox defended its decision because it said O’Reilly had settled the matter personally. It also said O’Reilly and the woman had agreed the financial terms would be kept confidential. The company says O’Reilly’s new contract had added protections that allowed Fox to dismiss him if other allegations surfaced. O’Reilly was ousted months later when it was revealed Fox had paid five women a total of $13 million to keep quiet about harassment allegations. Mark Fabiani, a spokesman for O’Reilly, said in a statement Saturday that after 21st Century Fox fired founding CEO Roger Ailes in 2015 following harassment charges, dozens of women accused scores of male employees at Fox News Channel of harassment. The 77-year-old Ailes died in Palm Beach, Florida, last May. 21st Century Fox paid out close to $100 million dollars to settle all the cases, Fabiani said, adding that in O’Reilly’s 20 years working at the channel not one complaint was filed against him by a co-worker, even on an anonymous hotline. The news analyst’s allegations included repeated harassment, a nonconsensual sexual relationship and the sending of gay pornography and other sexually explicit material to the woman, according to people briefed on the matter who spoke to The New York Times. As part of the terms of their agreement, the woman signed an affidavit, dated Jan. 17 and obtained by the newspaper, stating that the two sides had resolved their dispute and that she had no claims against O’Reilly concerning any of the allegations in the draft complaint. All photos, text messages and other communications between the two would be destroyed, the newspaper reported. The settlement was by far the largest of a half dozen deals made by O’Reilly or the company to settle harassment allegations against the host, according to the newspaper. It was reached in January. A month later, 21st Century Fox granted O’Reilly a four-year extension on a $25 million-a-year contract. In April, it fired him. Fabiani said the newspaper’s account was false and taken out of context. The New York Times said it stands by its reporting. “Mr Fabiani addresses everything but what the story actually says. This article, like our previous reporting on the subject, is accurate and deeply reported and we welcome any challenge to the facts,” the newspaper said in a statement emailed to The Associated Press on Saturday. Formerly the most-watched figure in cable news, O’Reilly has called his firing from the Fox News Channel a “political hit job” and that his network’s parent company made a business decision to get rid of him. O’Reilly also has said his conscience was clear in how he dealt with women. The company said it has taken numerous steps to change its workplace environment. “21st Century Fox has taken concerted action to transform Fox News, including installing new leaders, overhauling management and on-air talent, expanding training, and increasing the channels through which employees can report harassment or discrimination,” Fox said in a statement emailed to the AP. “These changes come from the top, with Lachlan and James Murdoch personally leading the effort to promote civility and respect on the job, while maintaining the company’s long-held commitment to a diverse, inclusive and creative workplace.” O’Reilly hosts his “No Spin News” podcast on his website, http://www.billoreilly.com, contributes to Glenn Beck’s radio program on TheBlaze and continues to write books in his best-selling series of historical “Killing” books, including his newest release, “Killing England: The Brutal Struggle for American Independence.”

Fox Renewed O’Reilly Contract After Host Paid $32 Million in Settlement of Harassment Case

NEW YORK (AP) — The Fox News Channel says the company knew a news analyst planned to file a sexual harassment lawsuit against Bill O’Reilly when it renewed the popular personality’s contract in February. The New York Times reported Saturday the company renewed the TV host’s contract after he reached a $32 million settlement with the analyst. In a statement, 21st Century Fox defended its decision because it said he had settled the matter personally. It also said O’Reilly and the woman had agreed the financial terms would be kept confidential. The company says O’Reilly’s new contract had added protections that allowed Fox to dismiss him if other allegations surfaced. O’Reilly was ousted months later when it was revealed Fox had paid five women a total of $13 million to keep quiet about harassment allegations. The new analyst’s allegations included repeated harassment, a nonconsensual sexual relationship and the sending of gay pornography and other sexually explicit material to the woman, according to people briefed on the matter who spoke to The New York Times. The settlement was by far the largest of a half dozen deals made by O’Reilly or the company to settle harassment allegations against the host, according to the newspaper. It was reached in January. In February, 21st Century Fox granted O’Reilly’s a four-year extension on a $25 million-a-year contract. In April, it fired him. O’Reilly has called his firing from Fox News Channel a “political hit job” and that his network’s parent company made a business decision to get rid of him. He also has said his conscience was clear in how he dealt with women. O’Reilly could not be reached for comment Saturday. The most-watched figure in cable TV was dismissed by 21st Century Fox nine months after the company removed its founding CEO, Roger Ailes, following harassment charges. Ailes died at his home in Los Angeles last May. The company said it has taken numerous steps to change its workplace environment. “21st Century Fox has taken concerted action to transform Fox News, including installing new leaders, overhauling management and on-air talent, expanding training, and increasing the channels through which employees can report harassment or discrimination,” Fox said in a statement emailed to The Associated Press. “These changes come from the top, with Lachlan and James Murdoch personally leading the effort to promote civility and respect on the job, while maintaining the company’s long-held commitment to a diverse, inclusive and creative workplace.” O’Reilly hosts his “No Spin News” podcast on his website, http://www.billoreilly.com, contributes to Glenn Beck’s radio program on TheBlaze and continues to write books in his best-selling series of historical “Killing” books, including his newest release, “Killing England: The Brutal Struggle for American Independence.” © Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed

Allegations Surface Of Sexual Harassment At California Capitol

SACRAMENTO (KPIX 5) — New allegations have surfaced detailing the widespread harassment of women who work at the California Capitol. Senate and Assembly leaders say they are taking the matter seriously and they have reportedly launched an investigation. The search is on for the legislator who attacked lobbyist Pamela Lopez. According to Lopez, about two years ago one politician even got physical. “He rushed up behind me, rushed me into the restroom, locked the door behind him, exposed himself, began to masturbate all in a matter of seconds,” Lopez said. Lopez won’t name the politician, but she’s one of more than 140 women in state politics –Republicans and Democrats — who have signed a letter blasting the “dehumanizing behavior” they face, saying “men have groped and touched us without our consent, made inappropriate comments about our bodies and abilities. Insults and sexual innuendo frequently disguised as jokes have undermined our professional positions and capabilities.” Lopez says it happens all the time. Lopez said, “It’s very widespread for many women who work in politics.” Sen. Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) said, “When I see the hashtag ‘#metoo’ I’m like ‘who not?’” Skinner says she has experienced harassment at other workplaces and while she hasn’t been subjected to it at the Capitol, she’s not surprised, saying some representatives are far from home, and there are constant fundraising parties. Skinner said, “The nature of the Capitol — where you have concentrations of power, by men, and also the fact that we socialize — there’s a blur between our work life and our social life.” She says the Women’s Caucus plans to work with the women who put together that letter, and others, to propose some changes at the Capitol. Women are only 22 percent of the legislature and Skinner says the fact that most male politicians there are fellow Democrats doesn’t change the power dynamic. Skinner said, “It doesn’t matter what party it is, it doesn’t matter what ideology, it doesn’t’ matter what workplace, we see this happening pretty much everywhere.” Sabrina Demayo Lockhart says she endured sexual harassment at the California Capitol for more than a decade. “I just thought it was the price of working in politics,” Lockhart said.

Assembly Paid $100K To Settle Harassment Claims Against Ex-Lawmaker

SACRAMENTO (AP) — The California Assembly paid $100,000 to settle harassment, discrimination and retaliation claims made in 2014 against then-Assemblyman Steve Fox, who an aide said exposed himself and then fired her when she reported his behavior. The settlement, reached in April, closed out a lawsuit by Nancy Kathleen Finnigan, former legislative director for Fox, D-Palmdale, according to a copy obtained by The Associated Press through a public records request. The settlement document does not contain details of Finnigan’s claims. But the Sacramento Bee reported Finnigan’s lawsuit alleged she once arrived at Fox’s apartment to pick him up for a legislative session when he overslept and found him with his pants unzipped and unbuttoned and not wearing underwear.
Former Assemblymember Steve Fox. (Facebook)

Former Assemblymember Steve Fox. (Facebook)

She also alleged Fox made unwanted sexual advances against another employee and asked her to perform work unrelated to her legislative duties. Finnigan’s suit claimed she was fired for reporting Fox’s behavior, the Bee reported. Fox was elected on the Democratic ticket in 2012 in a district covering northern Los Angeles County after previously running as a Republican. He served one term and was defeated in 2014 and again in 2016 by Republican Assemblyman Tom Lackey. A woman who answered the phone at Fox’s law firm on Thursday said he is not commenting on the settlement. Finnigan’s attorney, Mary-Alice Coleman, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. News of the settlement comes during a week when a letter signed by nearly 150 women including lawmakers, lobbyists and legislative staff was circulated and said California’s Capitol has a “pervasive” culture of harassment against women. “Men have groped and touched us without our consent, made inappropriate comments about our bodies and our abilities,” the letter said. “Insults and sexual innuendo, frequently disguised as jokes, have undermined our professional positions and capabilities.” The letter did not identify any men by name. The settlement with Finnigan names as defendants Fox, his former Chief of Staff Ann Turtle, the Assembly and Lynda Roper, the Assembly’s deputy administrative officer. Her lawsuit also claimed she was asked to perform non-legislative related tasks for Fox, including giving him etiquette lessons and reminding him to wear clean clothes, the Bee reported. That tracks with an earlier settlement involving Fox paid out by the Assembly. In 2015, the Legislature paid $110,000 to Kristina Zahn, another former employee, according to a copy obtained by AP. Zahn alleged she was asked to do campaign work on legislative time, not paid overtime, and asked to do work for his law firm, the Bee reported. The settlement documents in Finnigan’s case do not detail if and when she made a formal complaint about Fox or his staff members. It lists her claims as discrimination and harassment, retaliation, as well as failure to prevent all three. The Assembly Rules Committee handles complaints of sexual harassment, according to the chamber’s written policy. The policy bans retaliation against people who report it. © Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Lawsuit: Uber Driver Sexually Assaulted, Harassed Chicago Woman

CHICAGO (CBS) — A Chicago woman is suing Uber after a driver allegedly sexually assaulted and harassed her last month. The woman said the driver started attacking her during a ride, so she pulled out her phone to document the assault. But it did not stop there, the driver continued to harass her after he dropped her off. CBS 2’s Sandra Torres has the story. “I couldn’t believe it was happening at first,” said Elizabeth Hammond. Hammond, 30, said she began recording images minutes after getting into an Uber in the early morning hours of Sept. 24. “I wanted to be able to show it happened,” she said. Hammond said she order the Uber ride from the Uptown neighborhood to Logan Square. She claimed the video she recorded shows her Uber driver repeatedly reaching into the backseat and inappropriately touching her. According to the suit, her driver, “Aleksander,” groped her, moving his hand up and down her bare leg for more than 20 minutes. “Please don’t touch me,” the recorded audio said. “You’re taking me home right?” The driver responded by asking her to spend the night and offering her money to stay with him,” according the the suit. When they reached Hammond’s destination, the driver demanded her phone number and made her confirm its accuracy before she got out of the vehicle. He then sat in the car and watched her enter her apartment building. “Liz is a captive in a vehicle, doors are locked, vehicle is moving,” said Bryant Greening, LegalRideShare Attorney. Bryant Greening is Hammond’s attorney. “Locked the doors, groped Liz, propositioned her, demanded her phone number, watched her enter her apartment, then threatened her after,” he said. The same day, the driver allegedly called Hammond and left her a voice mail saying, “Hey Liz. It’s me. I want to talk to you because my account is closed. What’s f***ing wrong with you? Bye,” according to the lawsuit. And while she said she filed a police report and reported the incident to Uber, her attorneys filed a lawsuit on Wednesday on her behalf. “I feel distrusted,” Hammond said. “I realized this was a routine thing for him. I wanted it to stop, so no one else would feel uncomfortable.” The driver has not been identified in the Lawsuit. A representative from Uber told CBS 2 they cannot comment on pending litigation, but confirmed the driver’s account has been suspended. (CBS Chicago and Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this copy.  All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

Olympic Champion McKayla Maroney Says She Was Abused By Gymnastics Doctor

(CBS NEWS) – Olympic champion McKayla Maroney says she was sexually abused by Larry Nassar, the disgraced former USA Gymnastics doctor who has been accused of abusing dozens of young girls for years.

Maroney, a member of the U.S. women’s gymnastics team that won a gold medal at the 2012 Olympics, posted a statement to Twitter early Wednesday morning with the hashtag #MeToo, joining countless victims of sexual harassment and assault who have posted about their experiences in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal.

< p style="text-align:justify;">“I was molested by Dr. Larry Nassar, the team doctor for the US Women’s National Gymnastics Team, and Olympic Team,” Maroney wrote. “Dr. Nassar told me that I was receiving ‘medically necessary treatment that he had been performing on patients for over 30 years.'”

Maroney, who is now 21, said the abuse began when she was 13 years old at a training camp in Texas and continued through the end of her gymnastics career, including in London in 2012 before the Olympics. Three former gymnasts told “60 Minutes” in February that they were abused at Karolyi ranch outside Houston, Texas, a mecca for young elite gymnasts.

Read more at CBSNews.com
© 2017 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.
 

Olympic Champion McKayla Maroney Says She Was Abused By Gymnastics Doctor

(CBS NEWS) – Olympic champion McKayla Maroney says she was sexually abused by Larry Nassar, the disgraced former USA Gymnastics doctor who has been accused of abusing dozens of young girls for years.

Maroney, a member of the U.S. women’s gymnastics team that won a gold medal at the 2012 Olympics, posted a statement to Twitter early Wednesday morning with the hashtag #MeToo, joining countless victims of sexual harassment and assault who have posted about their experiences in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal.

< p style="text-align:justify;">“I was molested by Dr. Larry Nassar, the team doctor for the US Women’s National Gymnastics Team, and Olympic Team,” Maroney wrote. “Dr. Nassar told me that I was receiving ‘medically necessary treatment that he had been performing on patients for over 30 years.'”

Maroney, who is now 21, said the abuse began when she was 13 years old at a training camp in Texas and continued through the end of her gymnastics career, including in London in 2012 before the Olympics. Three former gymnasts told “60 Minutes” in February that they were abused at Karolyi ranch outside Houston, Texas, a mecca for young elite gymnasts.

Read more at CBSNews.com
© 2017 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.
 

Twitter Vows New Crackdown On Hateful, Abusive Tweets

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Twitter vowed to crack down further on hate speech and sexual harassment, days after CEO Jack Dorsey said in a tweet-storm that the company was “still” not doing enough to protect its users. The policy changes were specifically aimed at protecting women who unknowingly or unwillingly had nude pictures of themselves distributed online or were subject to unwanted sexual advances. They would also aim to shield groups subject to hateful imagery, symbols and threats of violence. In an email Twitter shared with The Associated Press Tuesday, Twitter’s head of safety policy outlined the new guidelines to the company’s Trust and Safety Council, a group of outside organizations that advises the company on its policies against abuse. The company said it would enact the changes in the weeks ahead. News of the policy changes was first reported by Wired. Among the changes, Twitter said it would immediately and permanently suspend any account it identifies as being the original poster of “non-consensual nudity,” including so-called “creep shots” of a sexual nature taken surreptitiously. Previously, the company treated the original poster of the content the same as those who re-tweeted it, and it resulted only in a temporary suspension. It said it would also develop a system allowing bystanders to report unwanted exchanges of sexually charged content, whereas in the past it relied on one of the parties involved in the conversation to come forward before taking action. Twitter also said it would take new action on hate symbols and imagery and “take enforcement action against organizations that use/have historically used violence as a means to advance their cause,” though it said more details were to come. While it already takes action against direct threats of violence, the company said it would also act against tweets that glorify or condone violence. On Friday, Dorsey foreshadowed the coming policy changes in a series of tweets, saying the company’s efforts over the last two years were inadequate. “Today we saw voices silencing themselves and voices speaking out because we’re (asterisk)still(asterisk) not doing enough,” Dorsey tweeted. The moves also come amid intense scrutiny from congressional investigators into how Russian agents used Twitter, Facebook and Google to influence last year’s U.S. election. Twitter has said it would appear at a public congressional hearing on Nov. 1 after already briefing a Senate committee. The company has handed over the handles of 201 accounts it believes were linked to Russia. It has also said at least $274,000 in U.S. ads were bought by Russia Today, a Russian-government-linked media outlet, last year. © Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.