Fox reaches $90M settlement in claim tied to sexual harassment scandals

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The shareholder claim was filed by the City of Monroe Employees’ Retirement System. (Fox News)

21st Century Fox has reached a $90 million settlement in a shareholder claim that was filed in connection with sexual harassment allegations at Fox News.

The allegations led to the departures of news chief Roger Ailes and on-air commentator Bill O’Reilly, but the settlement clears up derivative claims against Fox Executive Chairmen Rupert Murdoch and Lachlan Murdoch, CEO James Murdoch, and Ailes’ estate, according to Reuters.

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The shareholder claim was filed by the City of Monroe Employees’ Retirement System. As part of the settlement, Fox has also agreed to establish a special council aimed at remedying workplace issues at Fox News and reporting practices for allegations like the sexual harassment claims.

“We are pleased to have resolved this matter with 21CF in a constructive way that will drive meaningful benefits for shareholders of 21CF and Fox News employees,” said Max Berger, Founding Partner, Bernstein Litowitz Berger & Grossmann LLP. “The establishment of a majority independent council with the participation of senior HR executives from the company is a positive result that reflects a shared commitment from both sides to strengthen the workplace at Fox News.”

The council includes four independent members:

  • Barbara Jones, former judge in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York
  • Brande Stellings, head of Catalyst’s consulting services
  • Virgil Smith, vice president of talent acquisition at Gannett
  • Sylvia Ann Hewlett, PhD economist and founder and CEO of the Center for Talent Innovation

“The Workplace Council gives our management team access to a brain trust of experts with deep and diverse experiences in workplace issues,” said Jack Abernethy, co-president of Fox News Channel, in a statement. “We look forward to benefiting from their collective guidance.”

The Council is also charged with enhancing HR training on workplace behavior, and further recruitment and advancement of women and minorities.

In the past year 21st Century Fox has appointed Thomas Gaissmaier as new global chief human resources officer and Kevin Lord as head of human resources at Fox News. Both Gaissmaier and Lord will be members of the Council, with Gaissmaier serving as its chair.