If federal authorities discover what they are reportedly looking for, the Republican propaganda network could be in deep sh*t.
Last year, Roger Ailes was ousted as Fox News boss because Gretchen Carlson and other female anchors filed sexual harassment lawsuits.
According to Carlson’s lawsuit, Ailes punished her after she refused to have sex with him. He constantly ogled her and told her to wear short skirts to emphasize her legs. He also allowed misogyny to run rampant. Carlson even named current Fox & Friends host Steve Doocy in the lawsuit.
First, Ailes demoted Carlson by removing her from Fox & Friends. And then he fired her after she continued to refuse to sleep with him to further her career.
The case against Ailes was so damning that even Megyn Kelly defended Carlson.
Eventually, Ailes settled the lawsuit and Fox News paid Carlson $20 million. Ailes was then fired by the company and given a $40 million severance package.
And that money is the source of a possible investigation that federal authorities are considering or already moving forward with.
Andrea Tantaros’ lawyer Judd Burstein, who is representing her in her sexual harassment lawsuit against Fox News and Roger Ailes, recently received a subpoena from federal prosecutors. And he told the Hollywood Reporter what it means.
“Once I saw it, I knew what was happening,” Burstein said. “They were investigating whether Fox News violated securities laws by not reporting settlements to the Securities and Exchange Commission.”
In other words, Fox News may have settled the lawsuit against Ailes without informing the shareholders of the decision to pay Carlson $20 million while also agreeing to pay Ailes $40 million. Their haste to quickly sweep the lawsuit out of national headlines would be a violation of rules set up by the Securities and Exchange Commission.
In a statement following the report, Fox News claimed the corporation has not received a subpoena, but did say they have been in contact with U.S. Attorneys.
“The court granted FOX News’ motion to send Andrea Tantaros’ case to arbitration, where it always belonged, and rejected her counsel Judd Burstein’s histrionics. Apparently one of Mr. Burstein’s other clients has received a subpoena. Neither FOX News nor 21CF has received a subpoena, but we have been in communication with the U.S. Attorney’s office for months. We have and will continue to cooperate on all inquiries with any interested authorities.”
If Fox News gets busted for not informing their shareholders they could end up paying a hefty fine to settle with the SEC. That just takes more money out of Rupert Murdoch’s pockets and could make it more difficult for the company to make huge offers to Fox hosts and anchors to stick around when it’s time to renew contracts. It would be a major financial setback for the conservative propaganda machine.
Hopefully, federal authorities are able to launch or continue their investigation without interference from Donald Trump.
Featured image via Dangerous Minds