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New accusations against former Fox News head Ailes in lawsuit

Posted On: Dec. 14, 2016 9:05 AM CST

(Reuters) — New sexual harassment accusations against former Fox News network chief Roger Ailes were revealed in a lawsuit filed against 21st Century Fox on Monday.

The lawsuit comes just months after Fox News agreed to pay $20 million to settle separate allegations of sexual harassment of female staff at Fox News by Mr. Ailes.

The federal discrimination lawsuit filed in New York alleges that Mr. Ailes offered Lidia Curanaj, whose legal name is Lidija Ujkic, an interview to join the Fox News Network after meeting her at a dinner in 2011.

After being interviewed in a group setting, Mr. Ailes invited her to a private interview, the complaint said. He then told her it was "important (for female talent) to look good from head to toe," and asked her to stand and turn around for him.

The suit also alleged that Mr. Ailes later contacted a man Ms. Curanaj previously dated asking if she would "put out" sexually. The man told Mr. Ailes she likely would not, the suit said, after which she was turned down for the job.

An attorney for Mr. Ailes could not be immediately reached to comment on the accusations, though he has consistently denied similar sexual harassment allegations.

Ms. Curanaj's lawsuit does not name Mr. Ailes or Fox News as a defendant, but rather alleges gender, age, race and pregnancy discrimination on the part of her employer, New York Fox TV station WNYW.

The suit claims that when Ms. Curanaj confronted the station's news director about not being promoted to anchor despite her journalistic experience and successes, he replied she was "not attractive enough to be an anchor."

A spokeswoman for Fox TV Stations, a subsidiary of 21st Century Fox, said in an emailed statement, "We do not think the plaintiff's claims have merit, and we intend to defend vigorously."

Fox News in September agreed to pay $20 million to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit brought by former anchor Gretchen Carlson. A subsequent internal investigation of the company turned up more than two dozen women who described harassment by Mr. Ailes, according to New York Magazine.