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Fox News Legal Executive Takes Voluntary Leave
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Fox News legal executive Dianne Brandi takes voluntary leave.

Summary: A top legal executive at Fox News is taking a voluntary leave in the midst of sexual harassment allegations that have left many wondering why she was still employed by the network.

A top lawyer at Fox News has taken a voluntary leave as the network tries to get a handle on the controversy involving sexual harassment claims. For over a year Fox News has been dealing with the problem, ousting higher-ups one at a time.

  
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The news agency’s executive vice president of legal and business affairs, Dianne Brandi, is one of the last executives left that were connected with Roger Ailes, their founding chairman who was kicked out last summer. Ailes has since passed away in May. His departure resulted in a number of allegations regarding misconduct towards women within that corporate culture. These women claim they were harassed but feared reporting anything happening to them.

In her position of leadership for Fox News, she was directly involved in how the network handled allegations of harassment by female employees and others. She was cited in multiple lawsuits about the concealment of Ailes inappropriate behavior or her dismissal of their concerns.

Her departure, even if just temporary, is a clear sign that Ailes supporters are quickly being removed from the network. Their top anchor Bill O’Reilly left surrounded by his own cloud of harassment accusations. Even with all the scandals, Fox News is still one of the top cable news networks.

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Brandi’s role as the legal know-how gave her great power over programming and personnel decisions. She plays a large part in contract negotiations with on-air personalities with a reputation for intimidating top talent and producers with her no-nonsense way of sealing the deal. Her role in making big and even small decisions alongside Ailes even included deciding which guests were booked for which shows. Her role, according to multiple lawsuits, extended into dealing with the internal complaints of harassment in the same manner.

Former contributor Julie Roginsky, who is suing Fox News for sexual harassment, claims in her lawsuit that Brandi was fully aware of her allegations, telling Roginsky that she could not meet with an executive if she was going to “threaten a lawsuit.” Fox News never investigated her claims.



Another person suing Fox News is former Fox News host Andrea Tantaros alleges that she experienced retaliation after going to Brandi and other execs about her sexual harassment incidents. Tantaros says Brandi accused her of “manufacturing claims of sexual harassment to deflect attention from Fox News’s absurd objections in her book.”

There is now a class-action racial discrimination lawsuit against Fox News. Anchor Kelly Wright among other employees argue that their complaints to Brandi about racist behavior were ignored. Political commentator Scottie Nell Hughes even names Brandi in her lawsuit, claiming that Brandi and the public relations chief “knowingly and maliciously aided and abetted the unlawful employment practices, discrimination and retaliation” towards her. In her lawsuit, Hughes says she was raped by a longtime anchor but then retaliated against when she came forward.

The fact that Brandi was still at Fox News made former and even current employees question the network’s assertion that they were changing its culture. She has been with Fox News since she graduated from Fordham Law School in 1996.

Do you think Fox News should have fired Brandi a long time ago for mishandling the complaints? Share your comments with us in the comments below.

To learn more about the allegations against Fox News, read these articles:

Photo: shutterstock.com



 

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