Female Host 'Canceled' by Fox News Got $15M Settlement

Melissa Francis reportedly pointed out huge pay gap at the network
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 20, 2022 1:38 AM CDT
Female Host 'Canceled' by Fox News Got $15M Settlement
Former JPMorgan Chase co-COO Frank Bisignano is interviewed by Melissa Francis on the Fox Business Network, in New York, Wednesday, May 1, 2013. .   (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

(Newser) This story has been updated to include a statement from Fox News. According to documents newly reviewed and revealed by the Washington Post, former Fox News host Melissa Francis received a $15 million settlement from the news outlet after she pointed out pay disparities between male and female employees. The Post says such a large sum is "unusual in television news" and on par with the "blockbuster settlements" offered to female employees who accused Roger Ailes and Bill O'Reilly of sexual misconduct. A lawyer not connected to the case says the amount suggests Fox would likely have struggled to defend itself in court, should Francis have sued.

Francis was hired by Fox in 2012 and appeared on Fox Business and Fox News until October 2020, when her appearances abruptly stopped. As she was at her home studio preparing to anchor her program After the Bell that month, a message popped up on her teleprompter 15 minutes before air time reading, "You've been canceled," the Daily Beast reports. She never appeared on Fox again, and resigned the following year. By then she was in the midst of her pay dispute with Fox, having compiled a spreadsheet comparing the huge differences between what her male and female colleagues were making, and she says her removal from the air was retaliation for that. Separate from the pay dispute, she filed a complaint with New York's Labor Department regarding the alleged retaliation, which Fox News denies. That complaint is still pending.

In a statement, Fox News says it "has always been committed to the equitable treatment of all employees" and that Francis' "allegations were entirely without merit." It says it is fully cooperating with the Labor Department probe. (Read more Fox News stories.)

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