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The problems Fox News has been experiencing just got exponentially larger. Fox has been on a downward spiral since the NYT disclosed that several sexual harassment lawsuits against former host, Bill O’Reilly, had been settled by the network. O’Reilly was ousted from the company two weeks ago, nine months after Roger Ailes was forced out as CEO.
Last week, it was revealed that a federal probe into Fox News’ actions has been widened to include crime experts from the USPIS. The Justice Department investigation began back in February, and has sought information regarding the network’s managers and business practices. A report from CNN’s Brian Stetler revealed more details about the probe:
The investigation was reported to be focusing on settlements made with women who alleged sexual harassment by former Fox News boss Roger Ailes, and questions about whether Fox had a duty to inform shareholders about the settlement payments. The investigators have been asking “how the shareholder money was spent; who knew; and who should have known,” one of the sources said.
This news comes on the heels of a new class-action lawsuit that was filed in district court last week. 13 current and former Fox employees are suing the network for…
The expanded investigation now reaches beyond Fox’ alleged failure to disclose the payouts to shareholders and into the network’s general operations and management practices. The most recent lawsuit asserts that some of those of those practices includes, “plantation-style” management and forced arm wrestling between African-American and white female employees.
Per CNN, Fox has confirmed they are cooperating with the U.S. Attorney’s office and would continue to do so with all interested parties. However, Sean Hannity, now the network’s top draw, believes the investigation is based on lies. He recently cautioned on Twitter that “an end to Fox News Channel as we know it” was quickly approaching.
Hannity was the victim of a thinly veiled sexual harassment allegation last week. Former Fox contributor, Debbie Schlussel, asserted that he invited her to his hotel on two occasions. When she refused, she was not invited back to the show.
Curiously, Schulssel has since come-out and said she was “not accusing him of making sexual advances.” Both Hannity and O’Reilly, have vehemently denied the allegations and several conservative pundits have posited that this is nothing more than a “smear campaign” to topple the top-rated news program.