New troubles for Fox News arose on Thursday as a lawsuit accused it of gender discrimination and one of the women who have accused Bill O’Reilly of sexual harassment said she would appear before the British regulatory group that is assessing 21st Century Fox’s attempted takeover of Sky, the satellite TV giant.
At the same time, a federal investigation into Fox News continues. The inquiry, which began in September, appears to focus in part on settlements made by the network’s parent company, 21st Century Fox, and how they were paid and accounted for internally, two people with knowledge of the matter said.
A former public relations chief for Fox News has been subpoenaed and granted immunity from prosecution, one of the people said. The former executive, Brian Lewis, started at Fox News when it was founded in 1996 and was once considered one of the closest aides to Roger Ailes, the former chairman who was forced out last summer amid a sexual harassment scandal. He was fired in 2013 and left the network with a settlement.
Mark Kranz, the former chief financial officer for Fox News, also was subpoenaed and has immunity, according to two people with knowledge of the matter. Mr. Kranz, who oversaw the network’s finances when it paid millions of dollars in settlements, was appointed to his position by Mr. Ailes in 2004, and resigned last year, a week after Mr. Ailes had done so.
The people who spoke about the investigation insisted on anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss it.
The investigation is being conducted by two prosecutors assigned to the securities fraud unit in the office of Joon H. Kim, the acting United States attorney for the Southern District of New York, and the United States Postal Inspection Service.
James M. Margolin, a spokesman for the United States attorney’s office, declined to comment. Lawyers for Mr. Lewis and Mr. Kranz declined to comment. News of the subpoena for Mr. Lewis was earlier reported by The Wall Street Journal.
Fox News has said in a statement that it had been in communication with federal prosecutors for months, and would cooperate with the inquiry.
Already facing several lawsuits, Fox News was hit with another one on Thursday, a Fox News Radio reporter filed a state lawsuit asserting that she was subjected to gender discrimination over several years by two supervisors and that, less than 24 hours after reporting the problem, she was told the company was eliminating her position.
In one instance, the woman, Jessica Golloher, said Fox sent a male colleague in London…
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