On the heels of Roger Ailes’ departure from Fox amid sexual harassment allegations, an allegation has now been made against Brian Wilson by a former employee of the network.
The New York Times reported that Rudi Baktiar accused Wilson of improper behavior in 2006 and that she thinks she lost her job over reporting it. Wilson denied the accusation when contacted Friday.
Specficially, Bakhtiar claims that, while having coffee in her DC hotel lobby, Wilson told her he wanted to help her get a permanent job and then said, ““You know how I feel about you, Rudi.”
After that, Bakhtiar says Wilson repeated himself after her response. She alleges that she asked him what he meant and he responded:
“Well, I’d like to see the inside of your hotel room,” adding that he wanted a friends-with-benefits relationship.
Bakhtiar says she was told to report the incident to Human Resources and that her on-air appearances ended and she was eventually let go. The reason given for her firing was due to her job performance.
Wilson denied the allegations to the Times and said, “I take strong exception to the facts of the story as you have relayed it to me, period. Beyond that, I will have no further comment.”
Bakhtiar admits she is risking a lawsuit from the network for violating provisions of a settlement. She told the Times that her lawyer was contacted by Fox News after their inquiries.
The full story discusses an environment where sexual harassment was prevalent according to multiple former employees. These are the latest accusations following an internal investigation that started this week after former host Gretchen Carlson accused Ailes of harrasment. Reportedly, current host Megyn Kelly also alleged harassment by Ailes as part of the internal investigation.
More on Brian Wilson
Wilson’s departure from Fox News made news too.
Howard Kurtz, who was then at The Washington Post, wrote:
Fox insiders say Wilson has had temper issues. In one story involving guns, they say, Wilson was furious after a producer removed the sound of gunfire from his taped piece, even going so far as to knock over file cabinets.
Another story by Betsy Rothstein, who was the editor of FishbowlDC then, noted:
As some may know, Wilson had a very brief stint as the DC Bureau chief, but things were turbulent. He had a number of personnel problems, including temper tantrums and threatening producers in the newsroom with his outbursts.
Another story at FishbowlDC included more details:
Insider reports reveal that Wilson went haywire when a producer tried to replace a shot in one of his TV packages. Wilson reportedly “yelled” and “kicked a chair.” The producer then went to Human Resources to report the incident. Next thing you know, Diane Brandi, of legal affairs in New York, comes to Washington. Sources say Fox News employees said they wouldn’t feel comfortable if Wilson returned to Fox News.
Politico reported in June 2007 on Wilson:
Brian Wilson has been the Fox News D.C. bureau chief for less than six months and already he’s making an impact. Two weeks ago, he had to write an apology letter to Rep. John Conyers for using B-roll of him that was intended to be footage of indicted Louisiana Congressman William Jefferson.