An award-winning Fox News reporter has repeatedly been passed over for promotions “because he is black,” new court papers charge.
Emmy-winning anchor Kelly Wright is one of 11 current and former Fox News employees who have signed onto a proposed class action lawsuit against the network for alleged racial discrimination.
They include eight new plaintiffs, such as Wright, who on Tuesday joined an amended Bronx Supreme Court civil complaint.
“Despite his outstanding performance, and because he is Black, Mr. Wright has been effectively sidelined and asked to perform the role of a ‘Jim Crow’ — the racist caricature of a Black entertainer,” the suit, filed by Wigdor LLP, alleges. Wigdor has also filed another discrimination lawsuit in Manhattan Federal Court and an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission claim against Fox.
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Wright in 2016 pitched a morning show idea that would air before Fox and Friends.
Fox went with the idea, but “rather than allowing Mr. Wright to host the show, Fox has given that job to another of Mr. Wright’s White colleagues.”
When Wright asked why he wasn’t given the position, execs told him they wanted a face from Fox and Friends — even though he had been on the show until his discriminatory removal in 2008, the suit contends.
In a statement, a Fox rep said the channel and company brass “vehemently deny the race discrimination claims in both lawsuits. They are copycat complaints of the original one filed last month. We will vigorously defend these cases.”
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Wright also slammed Bill O’Reilly — the disgraced former Fox News Channel star recently canned in the wake of sexual harassment allegations — in the filing.
On one occasion, Wright asked to appear on O’Reilly’s show to talk about the racial unrest in Ferguson, Mo. Wright wanted to show a series on “positive stories about the African-American community and its contributions to the world,” court paper say.
O’Reilly, who is not named as a defendant in the suit, allegedly refused “because it showed Blacks in ‘too positive’ a light.”
O’Reilly’s reps did not immediately comment.
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