Fox News’s hotline for anonymously reporting sexual harassment claims entered the national news cycle after former host Bill O’Reilly alleged that no one called in to file sexual harassment reports against him. Now, one reporter alleges that she was fired by Fox News for using the hotline—and she’s suing the company.
Jessica Golloher, a Middle East and North Africa correspondent for Fox News Radio Network, turned to the hotline after claiming gender discrimination while working for the network. Filed Thursday, the lawsuit claims that Golloher was passed up as Fox’s lead reporter for the 2014 Winter Olympics games in Sochi, despite the fact that she was based in Moscow. Instead of allowing her to lead, Fox chose a male London anchor who did not speak Russian to cover the games. She also alleges that Fox Radio anchor Dave Anthony talked down to her and acted as if she was a “vapid, unintelligent female reporter.”
In April, Golloher used Fox’s anonymous hotline to report the situation to the company’s internal investigation firm, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison. The next day, Golloher was told she would be laid off in August. Golloher argues this is because of her report, whereas Fox is saying that budgetary concerns are leading to the layoff. Either way, Golloher stresses that the hotline is simply used “to paint targets on the backs of employees,” Reuters reports.
“Terminating an employee within 24 hours of utilizing the ‘hotline’… is yet another indication of [Fox’s] lack of oversight and retaliatory animus for those that are brave enough to report unlawful conduct,” Golloher’s attorney, Douglas Wigdor, said in an official statement, according to Reuters.
Golloher’s lawsuit opens up serious questions about the corporate climate behind Fox News, which appears to be prone to sexual harassment, chauvinism, and male favoritism. The news comes shortly after Sean Hannity was accused of “creepy” behavior and Fox News host Jesse Watters making an oral sex joke about Ivanka Trump. The Cut reports that Fox News is currently dealing with 15 discrimination-based lawsuits, including a lawsuit from online reporter Diana Falzone, who claims that the network did not address her sexual harassment complaint when she used the company’s hotline.