It has been a tumultuous year for Fox News Channel. With harassment accusations, Megyn Kelly’s dramatic departure, and major shakeups at the popular television news network, things have been rough.
But it may just be the beginning of the legal problems for Fox News. We’re now learning of a federal criminal investigation, due to the lack of disclosure of harassment payouts.
Fox News is part of a publicly traded company, and yet the payments to employees were not included in their Securities and Exchange Commission filing, which may be a major violation of the law. Shareholders have a right to know such details, and yet Fox News didn’t disclose it.
As the New York Daily News first reported:
The feds are conducting an “ongoing criminal investigation” of Fox News Channel and whether Rupert Murdoch’s company hid from investors the payments it made to employees who alleged they were sexually harassed, an attorney alleged in court Wednesday.
Attorney Judd Burstein — who is representing former Fox News host Andrea Tantaros in a suit against the cable news network and its ex-chairman Roger Ailes — said one of his other clients had received a subpoena on Monday to testify before a federal grand jury.
“I was told by the U.S. attorney’s office there is an ongoing criminal investigation, relating to these allegations, all of these allegations,” Burstein said, referring to the avalanche of sexual harassment claims that resulted in Ailes’ departure from the network he built.
The subpoena, issued by U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s office, noted “alleged violations of criminal law by Fox,” Burstein said.
This disclosure was first made public during a hearing for Andrea Tantaros to review claims of mistreatment. She described the Ailes-run Fox News as a “Playboy Mansion-like cult.”
What do you think about Fox News Channel facing a criminal investigation? Please leave us a comment (below) and tell us what you think.