Fox News Ditched Reporter After Health Disclosure, Lawsuit Says

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By Jon Steingart

Fox News once again finds itself the subject of a workplace discrimination lawsuit.

Celebrity news and gossip host Diana Falzone alleges she was prohibited from appearing on camera after she wrote a column about her experience being diagnosed with a gynecological disease that would likely leave her infertile ( Falzone v. Fox News Network, LLC , N.Y. Sup. Ct., No. 153973/2017, complaint filed 5/1/17 ).

Fox News Network LLC didn’t want to put Falzone on camera because her reproductive health status would detract from Fox’s presentation of women on air as exemplary specimens of female fertility, the FOX411 host says in a lawsuit filed under New York City sex and disability discrimination law. Falzone cried when she learned she likely would be unable to fulfill her “greatest wish of being a mother,” she wrote in her column.

“That definitely does not fit with the Fox view of how women should be,” Nancy Smith, an attorney for Falzone, told Bloomberg BNA May 1. “She was trying to say we shouldn’t suffer in silence and Fox News told her ‘Oh yes you should.’”

Spokespeople for Fox News and a representative for a law firm that has represented the network in other lawsuits didn’t respond to Bloomberg BNA’s request for comment.

Male hosts including Neil Cavuto, Bob Beckel and Greg Jarrett on air have discussed their own illnesses, including heart disease, multiple sclerosis, substance abuse and depression without adverse workplace consequences, Falzone says in the lawsuit, which she filed in New York state court. Falzone said she has endometriosis, a condition in which abnormal growths in the pelvic area can cause infertility.

Fox News has faced a surge of accusations of sexual harassment and a racially hostile work environment by current and former female employees. The wave of accusations and the public fallout has led to departures of former CEO Roger Ailes and former host Bill O’Reilly, whose names were practically synonymous with the network’s brand.

Separate from Falzone’s lawsuit, the network announced May 1 that co-president Bill Shine, who had been accused of ignoring misconduct perpetrated by others at Fox, would be departing too.

Smith and Neil Mullin with Smith Mullin P.C. in Montclair, N.J., and Martin Hyman and Matthew Daly with Golenbock Eiseman Assor Bell & Peske LLP in New York City represent Falzone. Attorney information for Fox News wasn’t available.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jon Steingart in Washington at jsteingart@bna.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Peggy Aulino at maulino@bna.com; Terence Hyland at thyland@bna.com; Christopher Opfer at copfer@bna.com

For More Information

The complaint is available at http://src.bna.com/ooT.

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