Melissa Francis, a business news reporter and frequent staple of Fox show Outnumbered, has been mysteriously absent from her usual post since the beginning of October according to Variety. While Fox claimed in a statement to Variety that Francis was still a Fox employee, the Los Angeles Times is now reporting that a source close to Francis has confirmed that she’s been fired from the network. Fox still holds that Francis is an employee, telling the Times “Fox News Media regularly considers programming changes, including to its daytime lineup.”
A mysterious firing is nothing to write home about usually, however, the circumstances surrounding Francis’ absence are highly questionable even for Fox.
According to the Times, Francis had filed a gender-based pay discrimination complaint “that has been in arbitration, according to one person familiar with the proceedings.” The complaint said that Francis was being paid less than her male counterparts at the network. It’s unclear whether Francis’s alleged firing comes as a result of the complaint or a genuine desire to revamp the afternoon news block. Either way, given Fox’s history with women, believing that Francis may have been fired for wanting better pay isn’t exactly far fetched.
Update, 7:12 p.m.: A Fox News spokesperson denied that Francis had been fired.