Photo: Andy Kropa/Getty Images

The bottom continues to fall out of Fox News, with the network now under an ever-broadening federal investigation (no, Roger Ailes, that doesn’t mean what you think it means). According to The Wall Street Journal, federal authorities are looking into the recent spate of lawsuits and the resulting settlements, the latter of which the network may have exerted undue influence to reach.

This latest round of well deserved scrutiny follows co-president Bill Shine’s ouster and Sean Hannity’s hand wringing. Plaintiffs have alleged they were subjected to sexual harassment and racial discrimination, as well as gender and disability discrimination, to put the cherry atop the dehumanizing sundae that is working for Fox News. But this federal probe is looking into the settlements that were paid to an on-air contributor and a talent booker, who both say they were harassed by former chairman Ailes. WSJ cites sources close to the investigation, who say the federal government is looking into the structure of said payments, as well as the possibility that any of the plaintiffs were intimidated by the networks into accepting the offers.

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21st Century Fox declined to comment, but WSJ notes that though the investigating continues apace, it doesn’t guarantee that the feds will move forward with prosecuting anyone.

[via Variety]