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Ex-Fox News host Diana Falzone says she was taken off air after writing a company-approved story about having endometriosis, and she’s suing the network for gender and disability discrimination.
Nancy Erika Smith, the attorney who represented Gretchen Carlson in her now-settled suit against ex-CEO Roger Ailes, announced the lawsuit in a Monday statement. She says her client was the “face” of FoxNews.com before writing an article called “Women Should Never Suffer in Silence.”
In the story, Falzone shared a personal account about suffering from endometriosis, a painful gynecological condition that she says led to her infertility.
Falzone says she was “forever” banned from appearing on air three days after her story ran.
“Once Diana disclosed her condition, Fox executives decided she no longer conformed to their image of on-air women as ‘physically perfect’,” said Smith in the statement. “Behind closed doors they passed judgment on her, discriminated against her for being a woman with a chronic reproductive illness and punished her for having a protected disability.”
Falzone says, until her demotion in January she was the creator and host of several popular online programs and regularly appeared as a guest on shows like Fox Business News and Fox and Friends Weekend.
She was diagnosed with endometriosis in 2016 and wanted to tell her story to inspire other women who also have the condition. Falzone says she got approval from her supervisors before writing the op-ed and the piece received rave reviews from readers — but just days later she was demoted without explanation, and coworkers had the impression that she had done something “terribly wrong.”
“Falzone submitted a formal complaint of discrimination to Twenty-First Century Fox, the parent of Fox News, pursuant to its ‘hotline’ procedure,” writes Smith in the complaint. “Neither Fox News nor Twenty-First Century Fox took remedial action in response to Falzone’s complaint. Among other things, defendant refused to restore Falzone to her prior position as an on-air contributor on Fox News shows and its website.”
Smith also says her client didn’t bother to contact human resources or the network’s general counsel because the departments “have been complicit in covering up and enabling a hostile and harassing environment for women at Fox News.”
The attorney also represents Julie Roginsky, a political consultant and cable news commentator who is suing Fox News for sexual harassment and retaliation. She claims her promotion to a regular gig co-hosting The Five was “contingent upon having a sexual relationship with Ailes,” and when she refused, she didn’t get the position.
Falzone’s suit says she was “demoted, marginalized, humiliated and discriminated against by Fox News because she is a woman” and that the network “continues to promote a discriminatory environment in which female on-air personalities are required to maintain an image as sex objects, while male on-air personalities are not subjected to a comparable standard.” Further, she says she was discriminated against for having endometriosis and it’s classified as a protected disability under New York City Human Rights Law.
The former host is suing for punitive and compensatory damages including lost wages, damage to her reputation and pain and suffering.
Fox News has not yet responded to a request for comment on the lawsuit, which is posted in full below.
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