21st Century Fox was hit with another lawsuit today filed by a former Fox News Channel employee who was fired after an investigation into a sexual assault claim made against him.
THR has a copy of the lawsuit filed by former Fox News Latino VP Francisco Cortes who was let go last fall after former Fox News contributor Tamara Holder claimed Cortes sexually assaulted her in his office.
In his suit, filed today in New York federal court, Cortes claims the resulting multi-million settlement between Holder and Fox News was meant to be kept quiet.
“Nevertheless, a mere two weeks later, Tamara Holder and Fox delivered a previously planned and carefully negotiated joint statement to The New York Times regarding the allegations, in violation of their obligations,” the suit claims. “They did this knowing that Mr. Cortes would, due to his own contractual obligations pursuant to the Tamara Holder and two unknown persons agreement, be forced to either violate those obligations, inviting litigation…or remain silent before a national/international press onslaught against him regarding the allegations, which he vehemently denies…”
Cortes, who was once a rising star at Fox News, says the leak of the settlement irreparably damaged his reputation. He’s a former Ailes Apprentice, which is an employee diversity initiative founded by former CEO Roger Ailes. Following Ailes’s departure after a sexual harassment suit was filed against him, the program came to be known as the Fox News Apprentice Program. Cortes, who saw Ailes as a mentor, went on to launch Fox News Latino. Fox shut down the website late last year.
THR reports Cortes is demanding actual damages in excess of $12 million and punitive damages in excess of $36 million.
“The allegations in this lawsuit are frivolous and without merit,” Fox News said in a statement late Tuesday.