MANHATTAN (CN) – In the latest court complaint recounting systemic harassment of the women who work at Fox News, Diana Falzone says the network took her off the air because it no longer saw her as sexy after she wrote about her infertility.
“The male-dominated senior management of Fox News obviously objected to the fact that a female on-air host had disclosed that she suffers from a women’s reproductive health condition, which, in their eyes, detracted from her sex appeal and made her less desirable,” the complaint states, filed on May 1 in Manhattan Supreme Court.
Falzone says the tide turned against her at Fox this past January after she wrote an editorial for Foxnews.com about her battle with endometriosis. Just 33 when she was diagnosed last year, Falzone says her physicians informed her that the condition likely means she can never get pregnant.
Hoping to inspire some of the other 176 million women around the world living with her condition, Falzone wrote “Women Should Never Suffer in Silence,” and the article went viral.
She says readers flooded the Fox News website with words of praise and appreciation, but that word soon came came from “the Second Floor” executive offices of Fox News that her career was toast.
“She was permanently banned from ever appearing on air on any Foxnews.com, Fox News Network, Fox Business News Network or any other Fox News medium and would never again be permitted to host her own shows or conduct her own interviews,” the complaint states.
Voiceovers, “even for programs or stories she wrote or originated,” were likewise off the table.
Though her supervisors offered no explanation for the punishment, she says their meaning was clear.
“Fox News has for years promoted and 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,” the complaint states.
Indeed, Falzone notes, men at Fox News who have disclosed their health battles have been able to count on the network’s unfailing support.
Neil Cavito told his viewers in 2016 about his battle with heart disease and multiple sclerosis, for example, and Falzone notes that he “later used his heart surgery as an excuse for his mean- spirited and baseless attack on Gretchen Carlson, a former Fox News host, after she had sued former Fox News Chairman and CEO Roger Ailes for sexual harassment.”
Other men at Fox News who have discussed their health on the air include Bob Beckel and Greg Jarrett. Falzone notes that both returned to the air after seeking treatment for substance abuse.
An on-air ban will prove disastrous to Falzone’s career path, according to the complaint, which notes that Falzone has been working her way up at the network for the past 4 1/2 years.
“Compounding the damage normally caused by removal from the air, Fox News offered no
legitimate reason for Falzone’s absence and thereby permitted the viewing public, the media at
large and her co-workers to believe that she was at fault for her removal from on-air status,” the complaint states.
Falzone notes that she was approached by several coworkers after she was forced out. They “either said or suggested that she must have done very bad things in order to have earned this lifetime ban,” according to the complaint.
Falzone seeks punitive damages for discrimination on the basis of gender and disability. She says the stress over her employment has also exacerbated her medical condition.
Along with Gretchen Carlson, Falzone belongs to a surge of employees to have brought complaints that describe Fox News as being a haven of top-down sexism, racism, retaliation and coverups.
The same day that Falzone filed her discrimination complaint, Fox News fired embattled Fox News co-president Bill Shine, who was been frequently named in harassment and discrimination lawsuits against the network.
Along with Jack Abernethy, Shine was appointed co-president of Fox News after the July 2016 departure of Roger Ailes.
Shine’s ouster from the network’s much-vaunted “Second Floor” came less than two weeks after Fox News fired its most popular host, Bill O’Reilly, on the heels of multiple sexual-harassment scandals.
Falzone notes that she did not contact the Fox News human resources department or General Counsel Dianne Brandi about her treatment because “for years both Brandi and the Fox News HR Department have been complicit in covering up and enabling a hostile and harassing environment for women at Fox News.”
Reportedly described as the “Face of Foxnews.com,” Falzone either hosted or created of multiple Foxnews.com programs, including “In The Zone,” “Four4Four Entertainment,” “Four4Four” Science,” “Four4Four Tech,” “Break Time,” “Heroes @Home” and “She Said, He Said.” Falzone also made guest appearance on the popular Fox News cable shows “Fox and Friends Weekend” and “Hannity.”
A spokesperson for Fox News has not returned a request for comment.
Falzone is represented by Martin Hyman of Golenbock Eiseman Assor Bell & Peskoe and Neil Mullin of Smith Mullin.