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2017-04-03 13:05:02
Fox News and Roger Ailes Hit With New Sexual Harassment Suit

Nearly nine months after Roger Ailes was ousted from his position as chairman of Fox News Channel, another woman has come forward with allegations of sexual harassment against him and the network.

On Monday, Julie Roginsky, a current Fox News contributor, filed a 17-page suit in New York State Supreme Court against Mr. Ailes, Fox News and Bill Shine, the network’s co-president, asserting that she faced retaliation for rebuffing Mr. Ailes’s sexual advances and for refusing to disparage Gretchen Carlson, the former Fox News host who sued Mr. Ailes last summer.

The new suit adds to Fox News’s woes at a time when it is trying to move past the sexual harassment crisis that engulfed the network last year. The network recently reached a settlement valued at more than $2.5 million, according to people briefed on the agreement, with a former contributor named Tamara Holder, who said she was sexually assaulted by a senior manager in his office. Also, the United States attorney’s office in Manhattan is looking into how Fox News structures its settlements, an inquiry disclosed in a court hearing in February by the lawyer for a former Fox employee suing the company.

And this weekend, The New York Times published an investigation that found a total of five women who made allegations of sexual harassment or inappropriate behavior against the network’s top-rated host, Bill O’Reilly, and had received payouts in exchange for agreeing to not pursue litigation or speak about their accusations against him. One woman, Wendy Walsh, who made allegations against Mr. O’Reilly but did not receive a settlement, plans to hold a news conference later Monday to discuss the issue.

Fox News and its parent company, 21st Century Fox, did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Ms. Roginsky’s suit. Susan R. Estrich, a lawyer for Mr. Ailes, also did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Mr. Ailes has denied the previous sexual harassment allegations against him.

The assertions in Ms. Roginsky’s suit echo the complaints that other women have made about Mr. Ailes and the culture at the network, where women have said they faced harassment and feared reporting it.

In the complaint, Ms. Roginsky stated that Mr. Ailes made sexist comments and unwanted sexual advances toward her during one-on-one meetings in his office, including requiring that she “bend down to kiss him hello” when he sat in a low armchair and telling her that they would get into “so much trouble” if he took her “out for a drink.”

Mr. Ailes also would tell her that she should “engage in sexual relationships with ‘older, married, conservative men,’” the suit stated.

“These comments and their delivery made it clear that Ailes wanted a sexual relationship with Roginsky,” the suit stated.

Ms. Roginsky asserted in the suit that she faced retaliation for refusing Mr. Ailes’s advances. She said that she was denied a permanent position as a host on the program “The Five” and was rarely allowed to host her own segments on the show “Outnumbered,” unlike other panelists. She also stated that she was punished for not joining “Team Roger” when Ms. Carlson filed suit last summer — a reference, presumably, to a group of Fox News employees who publicly supported Mr. Ailes.

In the suit, Ms. Roginsky also stated that she discussed her complaints in a meeting with Mr. Shine and another top network executive during a meeting in November, months after Mr. Ailes was dismissed in July. She stated that Fox News did not investigate her complaints or instruct her to contact the lawyers at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, the firm that conducted an internal investigation into sexual harassment issues at Fox News.

Ms. Roginsky’s lawyer is Nancy Erika Smith, the same lawyer who represented Ms. Carlson, who received a $20 million settlement after leaving the network.