Fox Reaches $90M Settlement In Complaint On Sex Harassment Scandal

Mary Altaffer/AP

Fox News’ parent company, 21st Century Fox, on Monday reached a settlement with company shareholders that requires third-party insurers to pay 21st Century Fox $90 million to help recoup financial damage cause by Fox News’ sexual harassment scandal.

The company also agreed to establish a committee at Fox News tasked with creating an inclusive workplace called the Fox News Workplace Professionalism and Inclusion Council as part of the settlement, 21st Century Fox announced on Monday.

“The Workplace Council gives our management team access to a brain trust of experts with deep and diverse experiences in workplace issues,” Fox News Channel Co-President Jack Abernethy said in a statement Monday.  “We look forward to benefiting from their collective guidance.”

The settlement reached Monday resolves a complaint filed by the City of Monroe Employees’ Retirement System, a 21st Century Fox shareholder.

The complaint filed by the City of Monroe Employees’ Retirement System notes that there was a “systematic, decades-long culture of sexual harassment, racial discrimination, and retaliation that led to a hostile work environment at Fox News Channel” and claims that executives did not do enough to address those issues. The complaint argues that the publicity about the sexual harassment at Fox News, as well as the large settlements paid to accusers, caused financial harm to the company.

The settlement requires insurers representing Roger Ailes’ estate and Fox News officers, including Rupert Murdoch, Lachlan Murdoch and James Murdoch, to pay $90 million to 21st Century Fox for the benefit of the company’s shareholders. It also mandates the establishment of the workplace council. The defendants did not admit to any wrongdoing in the settlement.

In its statement announcing the settlement, 21st Century Fox said that the council will “will advise Fox News and its senior management in its ongoing efforts to ensure a proper workplace environment for all employees and guests, strengthen reporting practices for wrongdoing, enhance HR training on workplace behavior, and further recruitment and advancement of women and minorities.”