Fox News pays out $2.5 million to settle sexual assault of contributor

The news breaks after last year saw the company settle multiple times over sexual harassment claims levied at Roger Ailes, who left his position as chairman and chief executive over the scandal

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21st Century Fox has reached a settlement worth more than $2.5 million with a former Fox News contributor over her alleged sexual assault by an executive at the company's headquarters two years ago, according to The New York Times

The news breaks after last year saw the company settle multiple times over sexual harassment claims levied at Roger Ailes, who left his position as chairman and chief executive over the scandal; leading to 21st Century Fox opening an investigation into what was perceived as a newsroom culture that proved hostile and demeaning towards women. 

Fox's latest settlement comes after former contributor, Tamara N. Holder, stated that an executive had attempted to force her to perform oral sex on him in February 2015 and that she did not immediately report the assault to the police over fears it would ruin her career, reporting her allegation to Fox News last fall. 

After investigation, the executive in question, Francisco Cortes, the vice president for Fox News Latino, was terminated; while Ms. Holder left her job after her contract expired on 1 January of this year. Mr. Cortes is yet to comment on the matter. 

Fox News released a joint statement with Ms. Holder; detailing, "Immediately after Ms. Holder notified Fox News of the alleged incident, the company promptly investigated the matter and took decisive action, for which Ms. Holder thanks the network. Fox News is grateful to Ms. Holder for her many contributions during her tenure at the network and wishes her continued success."

This follows previous settlements against Mr Ailes, including the $20 million settlement with Gretchen Carlson which led to his departure from the company; as well as Juliet Huddy's sexual harassment claims against the network's top-rated host, Bill O'Reilly. Both Mr. Ailes and Mr. O'Reilly have denied the sexual harassment claims against them. 

However, federal investigators are reportedly looking into whether Fox News misled investors by structuring sexual harassment settlement claims by paying them out in salaries, to avoid reporting them.