OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
Former Fox News host Melissa Francis has finally talked about her unceremonious firing from the conservative cable news network.
In an interview with Megyn Kelly on Sirius XM, accompanied by her attorney Kevin Mintzer she said she was fired via teleprompter. Fox News did address the firing weeks after, insisting that Francis was not fired, even as she has not been seen on the network since the announcement in October 2020.
“Fox News Media regularly considers programming changes, including to its daytime lineup, and will launch new formats as appropriate after the election. These changes are being made independent of any other ongoing matter,” it said.
Francis said she was involved in a pay dispute with the network attempting to increase her pay to those who commiserate with her male counterparts.
Since she hosted a show on both Fox News and Fox Business and was a co-host of one of the most highly-rated shows on the network, she considered it reasonable to request a pay increase. But to her shock, her discussions fell on deaf ears. During the interview, she cited Dianne Brandi, a once-popular Fox executive, as the leader of her salary negotiations. Francis was under the assumption that Brandi was no longer employed at the company and was shocked to be told that she would be conducting the meeting.
Brandi took a voluntary leave of absence from running the Legal department at Fox in 2017 following the fallout of sexual harassment allegations made by numerous hosts against Fox founder Roger Ailes. However, Brandi quietly remained with the network in a different capacity.
“Let me just ask you for — just for the record. Did Melissa file an arbitration against Fox?” the host said.
“We’re not able to talk about that,” the attorney responded.
The host then went back to Francis to talk about what happened after that.
“So did everything wrap up amicably where then somebody called you and said, ‘We’ve seen the light, and here’s a huge raise to make things better,’” the host said.
“That’s unfortunately not what happened,” the former ‘Outnumbered’ host said. “I pursued the path that I am supposed to follow. As I pursued this — in the meantime, you have to remember it was Covid. They built a studio in my home. I was doing the noon show and the four o’clock show from home, I was on every night. You know, things — life was continuing as normal.”
She said that she had a studio in her home with cameras and a teleprompter operated remotely.
“So the lights go on. I have a robotic camera so I don’t have the power to turn any of it on and off. That’s done from the studio. So the lights come on, the teleprompter comes on… I went over, I sat down, I clicked on my mic. I checked in, we talked to the producers, we did the whole thing,” she said.
“I’m about to go. And it comes up in the prompter, ‘You’ve been canceled’ and I said, ‘What what’s going on?’” she said.
“And all of a sudden, everything went dead in my living room, just lights out, everything dead. And I was like, ‘Wow, okay. This is, this is how we’re doing this. Huh? Wow,’” the former host said.
“I talked to the show staff afterward and they were like, ‘We had — we weren’t told anything. We have no idea what happened.’ And they were left scrambling. I mean, all of a sudden this poor show team had no idea and they just yanked the electricity on their anchor,” she said.
Her attorney believes it was her complaint about her pay that got her fired.
“Those claims in my view, 100% led to her being taken off the air,” he said. “Because of the complaint — internal complaint that she made and what she did to pursue that — without question.”
Kelly said that in her case she was making more than her male colleagues when she was at Fox News.
“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,” she said.
This past Summer Fox News denied the allegations made by Francis.
“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,” it said.