Fox reportedly settles for $2.5 million with former contributor over sexual assault claim
21st Century Fox has reached a settlement with former Fox News contributor Tamara Holder over sexual misconduct claims against a former executive. The settlement is worth over $2.5 million, according to the New York Times.
According to Holder, in February of 2015, then-vice president of Fox Latino, Francisco Cortes, invited her into his office and offered her shots of tequila. Cortes then went over to Holder and tried to physically force her head towards his penis — which he had taken out of his pants at some point — while holding the door to his office shut. Holder then managed to escape the room.
Holder didn’t report the incident at the time for fear of facing professional consequences. After the revelations of former CEO Roger Ailes’ decades of sexual harassment became public, however, 21st Century Fox launched an internal investigation into company practices. As a result, Holder came forward with her accusation last fall. Cortes was fired shortly after Holder’s accusation was investigated. Holder, meanwhile, left Fox News in January after her contract expired.
“I was told by agents and lawyers that if I opened up, I would forever be ‘toxic’ and my career would be over,” Holder told the New York Times in an email. Holder was also told by several lawyers that her case may not be worth it since she wasn’t famous and the man she was accusing wasn’t well-known.
“Moving forward, I hope that my ‘toxicity’ has transformed into authenticity and that my career is not over,” her email continued. “I hope that every man, woman, and child who has been sexually assaulted, or a victim of any crime for that matter, comes to the realization that they have not done anything wrong; they are not toxic.”
Fox News and Holder released a joint statement on Wednesday, which reads in part:
Immediately after Ms. Holder notified Fox News of the alleged incident, the company promptly investigated the matter and took decisive action, for which Ms. Holder thanks the network. Fox News is grateful to Ms. Holder for her many contributions during her tenure at the network and wishes her continued success.
[New York Times | Image: Fox News screengrab]