Do you recall the aphorism, “revenge is a dish best-served cold?” Former Fox News show host, Ed Henry, delivered a frosty plate filled with offal today–courtesy of his attorney, Ty Clevenger–to the senior executives running Fox News.
Henry is suing for defamation and the text of the complaint contains some stunning allegations:
Ed Henry was falsely accused of sexual harassment of Jennifer Eckhart and subsequently fired in order to divert attention from Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott’s long history of covering up actual misconduct, e.g., the sexual misconduct of Mr. Jay Wallace and other senior executives.
In order to burnish her image as “the woman who cleaned up Fox News,” Ms. Scott preemptively fired Plaintiff and ultimately defamed him as a sex criminal, hoping to divert attention away from her long and ongoing history of covering up actual instances of sexual misconduct.
Ms. Scott enabled and covered up sexual abuses committed by former Fox News’ CEO Roger Ailes while she served as one of his top lieutenants, while the pattern of cover-ups, and her willful participation in doing so, continued after her promotion to Fox News CEO.
Ms. Scott a well-known history of whitewashing actual instances of “willful sexual misconduct” by Fox News employees, including a widely-known affair between a subordinate and Fox News President Jay Wallace, i.e., the same Jay Wallace who co-signed the public statement that defamed Mr. Henry.
Mr. Wallace had demonstrated favoritism toward his subordinate lover and he was investigated by Fox News’ Human Resources Department for having an inappropriate relationship with a subordinate. That investigation obtained unequivocal evidence confirming Mr. Wallace’s illicit relationship and favoritism, but the incident was intentionally covered up by Ms. Scott, who, and incredibly, boasted in her July 1, 2020 Statement about her efforts toward “full transparency given the many actions we have taken to improve the culture here over the last four years.”
Ed Henry kept his mouth shut since his shameful firing and gathered a mountain of evidence. The allegations presented in this complaint are, I am told by a source with direct knowledge of the case, just the tip of the iceberg. There is a lot more damaging dirt that will emerge if this goes to court. This lawsuit comes on the heels of Fox News shelling out $1 million dollars this week in a settlement with the New York City Commission on Human Rights. Here are the key details:
Fox News agreed to pay a record $1 million to settle an investigation by the New York City Commission on Human Rights into what a panel called a “culture of pervasive sexual harassment and retaliation at the network.”
The settlement with Fox News is “the first of its kind against a major news network by a civil rights enforcement agency in the country,” the commission panel said in a news release Tuesday revealing the agreement.
As part of the settlement, the conservative news channel agreed for the next four years to waive forced arbitration clauses in employee contracts related to workplace complaints brought under the city’s human rights law.
If this case goes forward, it is highly likely that Ed Henry will have one more payday from Fox News Corporation.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 30, 2020
Ed Henry Files Suit Against Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott
Filing alleges CEO Had Double Standard for Conduct of Fox News President Jay Wallace, and Scott Modified News Coverage of National Anthem Controversy to Help Murdoch Family Secure Billions in NFL Broadcasting Dollars
Statement from Ty Clevenger, counsel for Plaintiff Ed Henry:
“As was made clear this week when Fox News paid a record $1 million fine for violating human rights law, its CEO Suzanne Scott is not the reformer she claims to be.
Ed Henry learned that the hard way on July 1, 2020, when Scott publicly fired him and released a memo that accused him of ‘willful sexual misconduct.’ Scott made the allegations despite overwhelming evidence — already in her possession — that the accusations against Ed were false. We believe she preemptively offered up Mr. Henry as a scapegoat.
We also expect to prove that she threw Ed under the bus to burnish her image as the tough female executive who cleaned up Fox News and that she did so even as she was covering up other incidents involving Fox News senior executives and program hosts, including an extramarital affair between Fox News President Jay Wallace and a subordinate. It is more than a little ironic that she allowed Wallace to sign the public statement accusing Ed of ‘willful sexual misconduct.’
We believe it was ridiculous for Fox News to claim to The Daily Beast that this week’s action by the New York City Commission on Human Rights was a ‘legacy matter’ that pre-dated Ms. Scott’s leadership.
Mr. Henry’s firing came just weeks after another top Fox executive told him in June 2020 that Scott was anxious to avoid any controversy, specifically, so she could keep Rupert Murdoch and his family happy and secure an easier and more lucrative job for herself elsewhere in the Murdoch empire. According to the lawsuit, senior executive Lauren Petterson told Mr. Henry that Ms. Scott was tired of “carrying water” for then-President Donald Trump during the 2020 presidential campaign. The lawsuit alleges that Scott instructed producers at the network to curtail coverage of the national anthem controversy that Mr. Trump had pushed about NFL players kneeling during the anthem. The lawsuit further alleges that Scott suppressed the story because Fox Sports was trying to secure a multi-billion-dollar contract with the NFL.
We expect to prove that Scott and Fox News have been duplicitous about many subjects and that they are more than willing to sacrifice principle (and one of their own employees) for the sake of expedience.”
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