CNN isn’t the only cable news outfit being accused of race discrimination. On Tuesday, a race discrimination lawsuit was filed against Fox News and its parent company 21st Century Fox. Two individuals were also named for discriminatory practices in the suit, Fox News’s general counsel, Dianne Brandi and its former comptroller, Judith Slater.
Fox News anchor Kelly Wright has become the face of the lawsuit as the most prominent plaintiff of the dozen participating in the class action. Wright and his colleagues, along with their attorney’s, held a press conference on Wednesday night where he explained that he is a reluctant participant in the lawsuit.
“I am here reluctantly because I am not against any man or woman at Fox News. I admire, like, and even love the people I work with and for. But I don’t like what they do.” Wright said at the press conference.
Wright has been at Fox News since 2003 and hosts America’s News Headquarters on Saturday’s.
Wright says he “has been effectively sidelined and asked to perform the role of a ‘Jim Crow’ — the racist caricature of a Black entertainer.” Two of the key players Wright alleges engaged in racist practices were former FNC host Bill O’Reilly and Fox News co-president Bill Shine.
The suit claims that Wright was shunned from O’Reilly’s now-canceled program, “The O’Reilly Factor,” and that Shine “has demonstrated an obsession with race when it comes to discussions with Mr. Wright, including regularly asking him, ‘how do Black people react to you’ and ‘how do you think White viewers look at you?'”
In one alleged example, Wright claims that he was rebuffed in his efforts to show a series of positive stories about the African-American community on the “Factor” because, according to the complaint, “it showed Blacks in ‘too positive’ a light.”
A Fox News spokesperson on Tuesday said, “FOX News and Dianne Brandi vehemently deny the race discrimination claims in both lawsuits.”
Others in media have pointed out that some of the alleged racism could have simply been about programming and ratings. Former Fox News host and TheBlaze founder Glenn Beck — who has also made a full-throated defense of Bill O’Reilly’s ousting last week — made that case on his show Wednesday morning.
Beck described Bill O’Reilly’s obsession with studying ratings and said of Wright’s accusation that O’Reilly wouldn’t have him on to talk about race reconciliation and positive stories in the Black community during the riots in Ferguson, Missouri as likely being ratings related.
In light of the far-left group Media Matters involvement in bringing down Bill O’Reilly, Wright also stated vehemently during the press conference that his participation in the lawsuit is not connected in any way to any “left wing conspiratorial group or leftwing financier” trying to take down Fox News.
One thing is certain, Fox News’s legal issues aren’t going away anytime soon and it’s cable news competitors have every incentive to keep the spotlight on FNC, and in CNN’s case of themselves.