|Born||June 21, 1966 (age 50)
Rudabeh "Rudi" Bakhtiar (born on June 21, 1966) is a producer for Reuters in Washington, D.C. She is likely best known for anchoring CNN Headline News Tonight, a prime time national three-hour news cast in the United States. In addition, she has anchored other high-profile newscasts for CNN including Anderson Cooper 360. She has over a decade of experience working for international news outlets including CNN, Voice of America, and Reuters News.
In 1996, Bakhtiar joined CNN and held multiple positions in her 9 years at the cable news network including anchoring CNN Headline News Tonight on the CNN Headline News network. She has co-anchored CNN's Emmy nominated CNN Newsroom and worked as a dedicated correspondent for Anderson Cooper 360. She has reported on assignments from numerous countries in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East, including Rwanda, Ethiopia, South Africa, Iran, Israel, and Palestine.
In January 2006, Bakhtiar joined Fox News Channel as a general correspondent, reporting on major international news stories such as the Ahmadinejad-al-Maliki summit in Tehran in September 2006, and the trial and execution of Saddam Hussein later that year. In 2007, Fox News terminated its contract with Bakhtiar after a complaint of alleged sexual harassment.
In 2008, Bakhtiar switched careers to become the first Director of Public Relations for the Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans, an organization dedicated to building an inclusive and representative voice in the public and political arena for Iranian Americans. There, she produced mini-documentaries called "Profiles of Iranian Americans" which focused on the lives of successful Iranian Americans. She also created and produced the organization's signature star-studded community event "Passing the Torch of Success" before being pushed out of the organization due to her strong stance on Iran's human rights violations.
In May 2011, Bakhtiar testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Sub-Committee on Iran's human rights crisis, claiming under the leadership of Ayatollah Khamenei "Iran has become one of the worst violators of human rights in the world...egregiously violating virtually every article of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, of which Iran is a member state."
Bakhtiar was born to Iranian immigrants of Bakhtiari heritage; her father died of oropharyngeal cancer in 2005. Bakhtiar has a younger brother and younger sister. Shapour Bakhtiar is Rudi Bakhtiar's father's uncle, the last Prime Minister of Iran under Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, and a great aunt of Bakhtiar's was the Shah of Iran's second wife (Soraya Esfandiary). Bakhtiar's great-grandfather is named Sardar Jang.
By age two, her family moved from Fresno, California to Los Angeles. When she was five years old, her family moved back to Iran. Bakhtiar was raised in Iran until the 1979 Iranian Revolution. Her family moved back to the United States when she was seventeen years old. She loved to ride horses as a child. Other hobbies include whitewater rafting, waterskiing, snow skiing, horseback riding, tennis, yoga, tae kwon do, and oil painting in her downtime.
She attended the University of California, Los Angeles, where she received a Bachelor of Science in biology in 1990, planning to be a dentist; she was accepted to New York University Dental School, but had reservations about going to dental school. In addition, she studied architecture at the Career Discovery Program at the Harvard School of Design.
In 2009 she served as an official festival judge for the Noor Iranian Film Festival in Los Angeles.
In 2002, Bakhtiar received the Iranian American Republican Council Achievement Award in recognition of outstanding achievements, excellence and accomplishments within the Iranian American community. According to Lycos, she was ninth ranked in the top twenty TV news personalities with the most searches from January through August that year.
Alleged sexual harassment
In 2007, Bakhtiar complained to Fox News about alleged sexual harassment by Brian Wilson prior to his promotion to the Washington bureau chief. In public reports published in July 2016, Wilson denies harassing Bakhtiar.
At the time when the matter was being addressed in 2007, Bakhtiar’s lawyer claimed that she had been unlawfully treated and terminated, citing a hostile environment of sexual harassment, quid pro quo sexual harassment, and retaliation. In response, Fox News refuted the claims by stating that it could not be liable for quid pro quo sexual harassment even if her allegations against Wilson were true because he was not her supervisor at the time of the harassment. Fox News further stated that she could not prove a causal connection between her complaint and the termination of her contract. After her case went into confidential mediation in 2007 and Bakhtiar received a favorable ruling from the mediator, a settlement was reached in which Fox News agreed to pay Bakhtiar the $670,000 remaining on her contract and her legal fees. Although she agreed in her settlement not to speak of her experience at Fox News, she decided to speak in the wake of a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by Gretchen Carlson against longtime Fox News CEO Roger Ailes in July 2016.
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