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Fox employee alleges harassment, discrimination in lawsuit

FILE- People pass the News Corporation headquarters building and Fox News studios in New York on Aug. 1, 2017. New York City's human rights commission has fined Fox News $1 million for violation of laws protecting against sexual harassment and job retaliation. It's the largest such penalty in the commission's history. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — An associate producer on Monday filed a lawsuit against Fox News Network, saying he was discriminated against because of his gender and subjected to unwelcome attention from an on-air personality.

John Fawcett, who works on the “Kudlow” show hosted by Larry Kudlow on Fox Business Network, claims in his lawsuit filed in state Supreme Court in Manhattan that “sexual harassment, sex discrimination, and racial discrimination are still tolerated at Fox.”

He said executives “will bend over backwards to protect such behavior so long as it is perpetrated by senior management or prominent on-air personalities.”

In a statement, Fox News Media said it had investigated and addressed Fawcett’s claim against the personality, and that his additional claims were “baseless and nothing more than a desperate attempt at a payday.”

Fawcett, 27, who was hired in March 2019, said he was in an elevator with Fox personality Andrew Napolitano later that year when Napolitano stroked his arm and made suggestive comments. He said he told his then-boss, Lou Dobbs, who told a company executive but the executive was dismissive.

Fox said the network investigated and “took immediate, appropriate action.” The company said it and Napolitano had since ended their relationship, but did not clarify when asked if that was connected to the allegations or the lawsuit.

Fawcett also said that while working at Kudlow’s show, which he started working after Dobbs’ show was canceled, he has heard Kudlow use slurs and make sexually inappropriate remarks with no recrimination.

He also said the executive producer, a woman, discriminated against male staff in an effort to replace them with female staff, and that she tried to force Fawcett’s resignation or firing.

Fox denied the allegations and said it would “defend the matter vigorously in court.”