Black Fox News Anchor Kelly Wright Joins Racial Discrimination Lawsuit Against the Network

Fox News thought that all their legal problems would be solved by firing Bill O’Reilly, but the Murdoch-owned network thought wrong. Unfortunately, it’s a change that is not strong enough to alter the current state of its company and network culture. To add salt to the already gaping wound, black Fox News anchor Kelly Wright has stepped up to headline the lawsuit being filed against the network, citing racial discrimination and harassment.

Kelly Wright has been a news reporter and anchor for Fox News since 2003. According to CNN Media, Wright claims “that he ‘has been effectively sidelined and asked to perform the role of a ‘Jim Crow’ – the racist caricature of a Black entertainer’.”

Wright also alleges the involvement of Bill O’Reilly and the network’s current co-president Bill Shine in his unethical treatment. In the suit, Wright claimed that he was he was dismissed on O’Reilly’s “The O’Reilly Factor” and that co-president Shine, “has demonstrated an obsession with race when it comes to discussions…, including regularly asking…, ‘how do Black people react to you’ and ‘how do you think White viewers look at you?'”

Wright also recalled instances where his efforts to focus on the black community in a more positive light on the show were evaded and a complaint of it showing “Blacks in ‘too positive’ a light” was O’Reilly’s retort.

Per New York Magazine, “Next week, according to sources, seven black Fox News employees plan to join a racial-discrimination suit filed last month by two colleagues. The original lawsuit alleged that Fox News’ longtime comptroller, Judy Slater, subjected members of Fox’s payroll staff to racial insults for years. (Fox News fired Slater in February after those employees began litigation against the network.)”

“These are meritless and frivolous lawsuits and all claims of racial discrimination against Ms. Slater are completely false. We have yet to see the alleged additions to the original lawsuit,” an attorney for Slater, Catherine Foti said in a statement, “Given how outrageous and offensive these suits are, it’s incomprehensible to imagine how anyone has joined or would join these legal actions.”

The two initial colleagues to file the suit against Fox News are plantiffs Tichaona Brown and Tabrese Wright.

As it stands, Wright is now one of 13 plantiffs suing the network with a charge of racial discrimination. All of whom are people of color and are current or former employees of Fox News.

Fox News has been subjected to a toxic culture for the past two decades, fostered in part by former CEO Roger Ailes. It has been alleged that Slater, for example, has forced black female employees to arm wrestle with other white female employees in her office and also bragged that she wanted to “fight” with a black employee. Such antics have continued despite attempts to diversify the network with the hiring of black employees.

Given the nature of the discrimination and harassment that employees have endured, silently up until now, it is now the time to do something about the racist treatment wrongfully doled out to these individuals.

In a statement on Tuesday (April 25), the attorneys representing the 13 plantiffs in this suit, Douglas Wigdor and Jeanne Christensen said that Fox News’ parent company 21st Century Fox “has been operating as if it should be called 18th Century Fox.”

Wright joining forces with the initial lawsuit is a pretty big deal, because it shows that the issues within the company are not only a problem from an administrative standpoint, but also on a much larger scale as well since he is a face of the network and is the only black face at that. Wright felt he had to do what was right and make a stand for something, or fall for just anything in regards to Fox News.

“I prayed about it, I cried over it,” Wright stated in regards to deciding to join the suit, “I said, ‘I can no longer sit in silence, collect my paycheck, and act like I didn’t experience racial bias on my own level — an on-air personality.’”

Photo Credit: PR Photos

Sheriden Chanel is a twenty-something writer, Beyoncé enthusiast, and lover of all things visual art. Keep up with her and her musings on social via @indiebyline.