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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 $15 million settlement after she complained about a gender pay gap at the network.

It comes after the former child star, who was 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 accused the focused on wage differentials.

Francis’ attorney Kevin Mintzer told the Daily Beast said his client initially filed the complaint “not for himself, but for the women of the company who are still there.”

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

Former Fox News host Melissa Francis was given a $15 million settlement after accusing her former employer of gender pay gaps

Former Fox News host Melissa Francis was given a $15 million settlement after accusing her former employer of gender pay gaps

Francis was reportedly keeping a spreadsheet of all her male and female co-workers salaries during her time at Fox when she noticed a gender pay gap

Francis was reportedly keeping a spreadsheet of all her male and female co-workers salaries during her time at Fox when she noticed a gender pay gap

A Fox News spokesperson replied that the network “did say goodbye to Melissa Francis more than a year and a half ago and that her allegations were completely unfounded.”

“FOX News has always been committed to the fair treatment of all employees, which we have consistently demonstrated throughout our 26-year history, and we are extremely proud of our company,” the company’s full statement read. “We parted ways with Melissa Francis over a year and a half ago and her allegations were completely unfounded. We have also fully cooperated with the New York State Department of Labor’s investigation and look forward to the conclusion of this case.”

Francis, who discovered the pay differentials at the company between male and female employees by tracking her colleagues’ salaries on a spreadsheet, did not comment personally on the settlement.

In 2017, Francis became a well-known figure on Fox News, co-host of the network’s talk and news commentary program, Outnumbered.

She was then offered a “negligible fee increase,” reportedly less than $1 million a year, the… Washington Post reported – significantly less than what other anchors for the network were earning.

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

Francis' settlement matches compensation awarded to female Fox employees who accused former CEO Roger Ailes of sexual misconduct and harassment

Francis’ settlement matches compensation awarded to female Fox employees 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 due for renewal, Francis recalled a revealing conversation with Dianne Brandi. Fox News’ former executive vice president for legal and business affairs told her she wouldn’t get the pay raise she had been looking forward to for so long.

‘That’s how the world works. Women earn less. It’s just a fact,” Brandi is said to have told Francis, according to the news anchor himself.

Fox News went into the exchange, which was first revealed by the Daily Beast, sharing in a statement that “Melissa Francis” version of that conversation is untrue and clearly absurd – besides, it makes sense that anyone with Dianna Brandi’s level of experience in negotiating talent contracts for a living would make such a ridiculous statement.”

Just under a year later, in August 2020, Francis took action against Fox after the network rejected her attorney’s request to share her colleagues’ salaries.

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

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

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

Francis officially retired from Fox News when she was about to appear for the network on the program that day – After the Bell.

While waiting to go live, she suddenly read a message on a teleprompter that read, “You’ve been canceled.”

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

As of Monday, her bio on the social media platform does not mention any previous involvement with the conservative-leaning news channel.

It reads: ‘News anchor, mother and wife, slurpee drinker, bestselling author, comedic writer. Not a member of any party; I look at each issue on a case-by-case basis.’

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

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