21st Century Fox Says It Isn't Liable for Discrimination at Local TV Stations

The media giant says a freelancer included "sensationalized and inflammatory" comments involving ousted CEO Roger Ailes in her lawsuit to get press attention.
Courtesy of YouTube/Fox 5 News/ Gramercy Protocol

21st Century Fox owns more than 20 local TV stations across the country and it isn't responsible for discrimination that happens at any one of them — according to its motion to dismiss a freelance reporter's lawsuit. 

Lidia Curanaj (Lidija Ujkic) sued 21st Century Fox in December, claiming she has been repeatedly denied a full-time position because of her age and was rejected for a job at Fox News because Roger Ailes realized she would be "unwilling to submit to him, sexually." She isn't suing Ailes himself, but she alleges the culture of misogyny he created within the company allowed her local news director to make inappropriate and disparaging comments about her looks, age and ethnicity.

In a motion to dismiss the suit filed Thursday, Fox attorney Linda Goldstein argues the corporate parent companies do not employ Curanaj and should not be named as defendants. (The motion is posted in full below.)

"Not content with suing her actual employer, Fox Television Stations ... she also brings claims against two of FTS’s indirect corporate parents," writes Goldstein in the motion. "Because neither Twenty-First Century nor Fox Entertainment employs Plaintiff, has any contractual relationship with her, or manages the day to day conditions of her employment, they move for dismissal of all of Plaintiff’s claims against them."

The company is also moving to strike Curanaj's "irrelevant, prejudicial and time-barred allegations" about Ailes. 

"Plaintiff has not made any claims of sexual misconduct in this case and she has not named either Ailes or Fox News as a defendant," Goldstein writes. "Nonetheless, the Complaint prominently features accusations made by other women about Ailes’s alleged sexual harassment of them."

Goldstein argues that Curanaj only injected the "sensationalized and inflammatory" comments about Ailes into her dispute to garner media attention for her case.

Curanaj's attorney Jeanne Christensen sent The Hollywood Reporter a statement in response to the motion Thursday afternoon. She says, “We are confident that Fox’s motion will be denied and that Ms. Curanaj will have her day in court."