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Melissa Francis Details Fox News Exit to Megyn Kelly

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Former Fox News and Fox Business host Melissa Francis says she was fired seconds before she was supposed to go on the air. Francis appeared Friday with her attorney on The Megyn Kelly Show to talk about her 2020 departure from Fox. Francis, who joined Fox Business in 2012 and later became a host on Fox News, said she brought up the issue of pay disparity with the then-general counsel at Fox, Dianne Brandi.

“You have to understand that at the time there were two screeners from the Screen Actors Guild – Bombshell and The Loudest Voice – and they had actors playing Dianne Brandi behaving illegally towards women in the Roger Ailes situation,” said Francis.

“At the time I assumed she no longer worked at the company,” Francis continued. “When I said I wanted to do my own negotiation, [Fox] sent me an e-mail back saying ‘you’ll be meeting one-on-one with Dianne Brandi. I was shocked because I thought ‘wow, you’re gonna put her in a room alone with a woman to negotiate. I wasn’t even aware she was still here.’ We ended up having a voice conversation. I had actually scripted out exactly I wanted to say because my math and my points – I felt like I wanted to be crystal clear. I didn’t want to misspeak any portion of it at all.”

“We started to small talk. She’s very nice. ‘How are your kids? What’s going on?’  Then she segued right into ‘Are you going to hand this off to somebody else? It’s not common for talent to do this for themselves,’” Francis recalled in the conversation with Brandi. “I said look, there’s this disparity and basically I laid it out. [Dianne] said ‘whoa, I’m gonna stop you there. This is not the way you want to do this. You do not want to compare yourself to other people.’

“I said ‘no, I’m not comparing myself to other people.’ I’m saying that I’ve collected all this data —  basically how I just explained to you – I went through how I did all the comparisons I came up with and finally she broke in and said, and I wrote down verbatim, ‘that’s how the world works. Women make less than men. That’s just a fact.”

Months after her firing, Francis sued Fox for pay discrimination. It was settled in June. Fox paid Francis $15 million.

Earlier this summer, a Fox News spokesperson said “We parted ways with Melissa Francis over a year and a half ago and her allegations were entirely without merit. We have also fully cooperated with the New York State Department of Labor’s investigation and look forward to the completion of this matter.”

Before asking Francis about the details behind her negotiations, Kelly brought up her final dealings with the company before turning down a lucrative offer to join NBC.

“I will say of my own personal experience was that they were always very generous,” Kelly said. “And this is during the Roger era. And my final contract was offered to me by the Murdoch’s, not Roger, but it was always very generous. And I actually know for a fact that I was making more than most of my male colleagues, and that my last contract that was offered to me was definitely bigger even than O’Reilly’s, because as soon as I left, he went and begged them for it, and they gave it to him and he wouldn’t last much longer. But in my experience with them was my being a woman was in no way an impediment to them paying me very, very well.”

“It does seem impossible that a lawyer would say such a reckless thing,” Kelly responded before quoting a statement from a Fox News spokesperson. “Melissa Francis’ version of that conversation is untrue and patently absurd.”

“It is absurd,” Francis said. “I agree with that. It is totally absurd that she would say something like that. I 100% with the fact that it was absurd, and that’s how I felt at the time.”

Later, Francis said she learned of her dismissal from Fox during the pandemic when she was prepared to go on the air from her studio at home.

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CNN Asks Florida Judge to Toss Out Donald Trump’s Defamation Suit

Trump filed the lawsuit against CNN because he accuses the network of defaming his character during the 2020 Presidential Election.

Eduardo Razo

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Former President Donald Trump filed a lawsuit against CNN in October; now, over a month later, the cable news channel is asking a judge in Florida to toss the case (h/t The Hill).

Trump filed the lawsuit against CNN because he accuses the network of defaming his character during the 2020 Presidential Election. Trump’s attorneys argued CNN “has sought to use its massive influence — purportedly as a ‘trusted’ news source.”

Additionally, Trump’s lawyer says that CNN attempted “to defame the Plaintiff in the minds of its viewers and readers for the purpose of defeating him politically, culminating in CNN claiming credit for ‘[getting] Trump out’ in the 2020 presidential election.”

CNN lawyers have pushed back against Trump’s claims saying that the former president “seeks to silence any criticism of Plaintiff’s debunked claim that the 2020 presidential election was ‘stolen.’”

“Any alleged association resulting therefrom are also ‘rhetorical hyperbole’ and ‘pure opinion’ under well-established principles of defamation law,” CNN’s lawyers added.

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Investor Cautions Over Possible Fox-News Corp. Merger

Irenic Capital, which owns about 2 percent of News Corp., has taken issue with its potential merger between Fox and News Corp.

Eduardo Razo

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Rumors have swirled over Fox and News Corp. possibly merging into one entity, but Irenic Capital, which owns about 2% of News Corp., has taken issue with its potential merger.

A merger would produce a more complicated company and turn off investors rather than increase the company’s lagging stock price, Irenic Capital stated in a letter to the News Corp. board.

“And even if such synergies do exist today, they would principally benefit Fox and reside in the News Media segment of News Corp,” Irenic Capital said (h/t Deadline). “For example, Fox Business may benefit from greater integration with The Wall Street Journal and some of Dow Jones’ other properties, but it is highly debatable whether the benefits from such an association flow both ways.

“Combining News Corp with Fox will result in a combined company that is obviously more complex than both companies left separate.” 

Irenic believes a unification would aid Fox far better than News Corp. and cautioned that the board has a fiduciary responsibility to investigate all possible routes to develop value beyond the one suggested by its primary shareholder.

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News Television

Fox News Lights All-American Christmas Tree

The event was hosted by Greg Gutfeld, Judge Jeanine Pirro, Dana Perino, Jessica Tarlov and Jesse Watters

Ryan Hedrick

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Fox News held its annual All-American Tree Lighting at FOX Square in New York, New York Monday during “The Five.” The event was hosted by Greg Gutfeld, Judge Jeanine Pirro, Dana Perino, Jessica Tarlov and Jesse Watters

In a release, the network said it partnered with the Police Athletic League (PAL) to host a toy drive benefiting New York City’s youth. The network also honored first responders by selecting representatives of the FDNY and NYPD to light this year’s tree.

Guests included FOX News personalities and their families along with first responders from the NYPD and FDNY, including members of NYPD Precinct 32, who lost Wilbert Mora and Jason Rivera this year, and members of EMS Station 49, who lost EMS captain Alison Russo earlier this year.

FOX’s All-American Christmas tree stands at 50 feet tall and is adorned by 12,000 ornaments and 340,000 lights. The tree has 500 branches, a star topper that is over six feet tall and more than four miles of cord wrapped throughout.  Made in America, the tree features a patriotic theme of red, white, and blue decorations.

“After a busy year in America, it’s nice to, let’s just take a step back and celebrate traditions like this and remember how important it is to come together and focus on what truly matters,” said co-host Dana Perino. “This tree is not just for us to enjoy. We want you watching at home to be able to come here and make Christmas memories with your family and friends and of course, your pets, too, of course, as you can imagine.”

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