Fox News paid ex-host Melissa Francis $15 million after allegations of gender pay gaps

Former Fox News anchor Melissa Francis has been awarded a roughly $15 million settlement by the network after she complained about gender pay gaps and discrimination at the conservative cable giant.

The huge payout, which matches the huge settlements Fox News awarded a string of female employees who have accused sexual misconduct by former CEO Roger Ailes and ex-star Bill O’Reilly, was first reported by The Washington Post On Sunday.

The revelation of Francis’ settlement comes just months after The Daily Beast first reported that she had filed a complaint with the New York State Department of Labor, claiming that Fox News took a stab at her for pointing out the pay gap would have.

While neither Francis nor her attorney, Kevin Mintzer, would comment on the settlement amount, Mintzer issued a statement regarding Francis’s complaint to the Department of Labor.

“Melissa did not file her complaint with the Department of Labor for herself, but for the company’s women who are still there,” Mintzer told The Daily Beast. “Contrary to Fox News’ false claims of a ‘new era,’ what happened to Melissa shows that sexism and retaliation are still rife on the network. We continue to work with the Department of Labor and look forward to the results of their investigation.”

A spokesman for the network gave the following response from Fox News Media: “FOX News has always been committed to treating all employees fairly, which we have consistently demonstrated throughout our 26-year history, and we are very proud of our company. We broke up with Melissa Francis over a year and a half ago and her allegations were completely unfounded. We have also fully cooperated with the investigation of the New York State Department of Labor and look forward to the resolution of this matter.”

The rep also noted that Fox has revamped the work culture over the years, which has included the promotion of many women to senior positions as well as on the air.

While the network says Francis’ allegations are “completely unfounded,” said a lawyer unrelated to the ex-host’s case The Washington Post that such a large settlement suggests there was likely “rather compelling evidence of an apparent and gross inequality in pay.”

Francis, a former TV child actress, joined Fox News Media in 2012 as a presenter for Fox Business and in 2017 was given the opportunity to serve as a permanent co-host of the Fox News lunchtime round at the table outnumbered. At the same time, Francis continued to host her afternoon Fox Business program After the bell.

However, she was abruptly pulled from both shows in October 2020 due to her pay dispute with the network.

In conversation with The Washington Postsaid Francis when she was first offered the promotion outnumbered In 2017, she received a “negligible increase in compensation” that was under $1 million per year and below what similar hosts were making. According to Francis, she agreed to wait until the next contract hearing in 2019.

During that time, she claimed she kept a spreadsheet comparing the salaries of others at Fox based on her conversations with colleagues and agents. Even after accounting for experience, ratings, and time slots, she found that men were paid significantly more on the network than women.

She also recounted a conversation she had with former Fox News executive vice president of legal and business affairs Dianne Brandi in November 2019. (Brandi continues to represent Fox News on certain contractual matters.) At the time, Francis said Brandi informed her she wouldn’t get a raise, prompting Francis to note that she had noticed a “pretty startling gender pay gap.”

After the network recently named Suzanne Scott as CEO and prompted other female executives to do the same, Francis said Brandi told her, “This is how the world works. women earn less. It’s just a fact.” Fox News, in a statement to The Daily Beast, denied the exchange.

“Melissa Francis’s version of this conversation is untrue and patently absurd — plus it’s illogical that someone with Dianne Brandi’s experience negotiating talent deals for a living would make such a ridiculous statement,” said a spokesman for the network.

Francis explained that after the network denied her attorney’s request for disclosure of her colleagues’ salaries, she began arbitration with Fox in August 2020. The referee gave the network until October 7 to provide salary information, according to Francis.

15 minutes before it airs at 4:00 p.m. ET After the bell That day, Francis said she saw this pop-up on her teleprompter as she prepared to go on the air: “You’ve been canceled.”

She never appeared on Fox again, eventually tendering her resignation on February 2, 2021.

Diana Falzone was an on-camera and digital reporter for from 2012 to 2018. In May 2017, she filed a gender and disability discrimination lawsuit against the network and left the company in March 2018. Fox News paid ex-host Melissa Francis $15 million after allegations of gender pay gaps


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