Fox News paid a ‘$15 million settlement’ to former anchor after claims of gender-based pay disparity

Fox News has paid former host Melissa Francis a reported $15 million settlement after she complained about a gender pay gap at the network. 

It comes after the former child star, who featured on camera for Fox News and Fox Business Network from 2012 to 2020, filed a complaint with the New York State Department of Labor accusing the conservative-leaning news network of retaliating against her after she highlighted the pay disparities.

Francis’ attorney Kevin Mintzer told the Daily Beast said his client initially filed the complained ‘not for herself but for the women of the company who are still there.’

He added: ‘Contrary to Fox News’ false claims about a “new era,” what happened to Melissa shows that sexism and retaliation are still prevalent at the network,’ he added. ‘We continue to cooperate with the Department of Labor, and we look forward to receiving the findings of their investigation.’ 

Former Fox News anchor Melissa Francis was awarded a $15million settlement after accusing her former employer of gender-based pay disparities 

Francis reportedly kept a spreadsheet of all of her male and female coworkers salaries during her time at Fox, which is when she noticed a pay gap between both genders

Francis reportedly kept a spreadsheet of all of her male and female coworkers salaries during her time at Fox, which is when she noticed a pay gap between both genders

A spokesperson for Fox News responded that the network had ‘parted ways with Melissa Francis over a year and a half ago and her allegations were entirely without merit.’ 

‘FOX News has always been committed to the equitable treatment of all employees which we have demonstrated consistently over our 26-year history, and we are extremely proud of our business,’ the company’s statement said in full. ‘We parted ways with Melissa Francis over a year and a half ago and her allegations were entirely without merit. We have also fully cooperated with the New York State Department of Labor’s investigation and look forward to the completion of this matter.’

Francis, who found out about the discrepancies in pay at the company between male and female employees by keeping track of her co-workers’ salaries on a spreadsheet, did not personally comment on the settlement.

In 2017, Francis became a familiar figure on Fox News, co-hosting the network’s talk and news commentary program, Outnumbered. 

She was then offered a ‘negligible increase in compensation,’ reportedly under $1million a year, the Washington Post reported — significantly less than what other anchors for the network were earning. 

Francis declined the offer and agreed to renegotiate her salary in 2019, once her contract with the news network expired. 

Francis' settlement is on par with compensation awarded to female employees at Fox who accused former CEO Roger Ailes of sexual misconduct and harassment

Francis’ settlement is on par with compensation awarded to female employees at Fox who accused former CEO Roger Ailes of sexual misconduct and harassment

In the meantime, she anchored the Happening Now newscast and After the Bell, an afternoon broadcast started by Fox Business.

In November 2019, when her contract was subject to renewal, Francis recalled a revealing conversation with Dianne Brandi. The former Fox News executive vice president for legal and business affairs told her that she would not receive the pay increase that she was long looking forward to.

‘That’s how the world works. Women make less. It’s just a fact,’ Brandi allegedly told Francis, according to news anchor herself. 

Fox News countered the exchange, which was first revealed by the Daily Beast, sharing in a statement that ‘Melissa Francis’s version of that conversation is untrue and patently absurd — furthermore, it is logical that anyone with Dianna Brandi’s level of experience in negotiating talent contracts for a living would make such a ludicrous statement.’ 

A little less than a year later, in August 2020, Francis took action against Fox after the network declined her attorney’s request to share the salaries of her co-workers. 

The conservative-leaning cable channel had until October 7 of that year to then share these salaries in court, according to the Daily Beast. 

Francis was reportedly notified that she had been removed from the network's airtime while getting ready to present a Fox Business program called After the Bell. A teleprompter with the words 'You've been canceled' appeared right as the show was about to start

Francis was reportedly notified that she had been removed from the network’s airtime while getting ready to present a Fox Business program called After the Bell. A teleprompter with the words ‘You’ve been canceled’ appeared right as the show was about to start

Francis officially parted ways with Fox News when she was about to feature on-air for the network that day on the program — After the Bell. 

As she was waiting to go live, she suddenly read a message on a teleprompter that read: ‘You’ve been canceled.’ 

She was never to be seen on Fox ever again and handed her resignation on February 2, 2021.

As of Monday, her bio on the social media platform fails to mention any past involvement with the conservative-leaning news channel.

It reads: ‘News anchor, mom & wife, slurpee drinker, best selling author, comedy writer. Not a member of any party; I consider every issue on a case by case basis.’ 

The hefty settlement amount allocated to Francis is similar to what other female employees received in compensation after accusing former CEO Roger Ailes and former network commentator Bill O’Reilly of sexual misconduct in 2017. 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk

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