Our Opinion: Fox pays up for its sexist frat boy culture

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The huge sexual harassment settlement Fox will pay out should serve as a warning to any other workplaces that still have an antiquated frat boy culture in place.

The parent company of Fox News, 21st Century Fox Corporation, will pay a reported $20 million to settle a lawsuit brought by former anchor Gretchen Carlson, who said Roger Ailes sexually harassed her when he was chairman of the network — and provided solid evidence. Two other women have reportedly settled similar lawsuits and at least one other is pending. The company also issued an apology in which it acknowledged that "Gretchen was not treated with the respect and dignity that she and all of our colleagues deserve."

Fox News, a public relations organization for the Republican Party and other far-right groups, bears much of the blame for today's angry, facts-be-damned political culture. Mr. Ailes, now an adviser to Donald Trump, also built a "Mad Men"-era company that former host Andrea Tantaros described in her lawsuit as a "Playboy Mansion-like cult, steeped in intimidation, indecency and misogyny." She also called out Fox News for masquerading "as a defender of traditional family values."

Ailes and friends may have presided over a particularly sexist and antediluvian workplace, but it is unlikely that it is unique in America. Progress has been made in fixing poisonous office cultures and hold-outs should see themselves as on notice. A failure to reform may not only result in public embarrassment and loss of credibility, it could lead to a hefty financial blow.


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