Lawyers for women who have accused Fox News of harassment and discrimination will travel to Britain in a bid to persuade regulators to block Rupert Murdoch’s acquisition of pay-TV group Sky.
The lawyers — Lisa Bloom and Douglas Wigdor — have confirmed that they will meet officials from U.K. media regulator Ofcom next week to discuss claims made by their clients.
Ofcom is currently reviewing whether or not to approve 21st Century Fox’s ( purchase of )Sky (. It could kill the deal if it decides that Fox — controlled by Murdoch — would not be “fit and proper” owners of the European media group. )
Ofcom has a broad remit. It will consider “any relevant misconduct” in makings its decision, due by June 20.
Allegations of sexual harassment, discrimination and retaliation by current and former employees against former network boss Roger Ailes and former host Bill O’Reilly have turned the spotlight on Murdoch’s next big acquisition.
Both executives have left the network in recent months after receiving hefty payouts. But Wigdor, who is qualified to practice law in the U.K., has claimed that Fox “lacks proper internal controls.”
In a letter to Ofcom earlier this week urging it to block the Sky deal, Wigdor said Fox only launched an investigation after employees filed public lawsuits.
“I look forward to sharing the information that I have come to learn about 21st Century Fox through the dedicated men and women that I am privileged to represent,” he said in a statement. He will meet Ofcom on Thursday.
Bloom confirmed that she will visit the regulator on Monday with Wendy Walsh, a radio and TV personality who has made a complaint against O’Reilly.
Walsh has alleged that O’Reilly broke a promise to get her a job at Fox News because she rejected his advances.
“We believe the U.K. regulator should know about 21st Century Fox’s long and shameful history of tolerating sexual harassment and retaliation against working women, and the more recent allegations of racial discrimination and surveillance as well,” Bloom said in a statement.
A spokesman for Ofcom said the agency was “unable to provide details on any meetings.” 21st Century Fox ( did not immediately respond to a request for comment. )
The U.S. Department of Justice is investigating Fox News for possible misconduct, including whether it should have told shareholders about settlements with employees who accused Ailes of sexual harassment.
The U.S. Postal Inspection Service, which handles mail fraud and wire fraud, is now also part of the investigation, four sources connected to the investigation told CNNMoney last month.
Fox News fight moves to UK as lawyers lobby regulator over Sky deal – CNNMoney