Former Fox News anchor and White House correspondent Ed Henry filed a defamation lawsuit against the network for statements company executives made when they fired him over allegations of sexual misconduct.
The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Newark, New Jersey, accuses top network officials of issuing a statement that “sandbagged” Henry in July of 2020, according to USA Today. The statement said a former employee had accused Henry of sexual misconduct and he was being fired after an external investigation.
Henry, who co-anchored “America’s Newsroom” at the time, says the misconduct allegations are false.
“On Thursday, June 25, we received a complaint about Ed Henry from a former employee’s attorney involving willful sexual misconduct in the workplace years ago,” Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott and Jay Wallace, Fox News Media’s president and executive editor, said in a memo at the time, according to The Hill. “We immediately retained an outside law firm (which has never represented Fox News in investigations or litigation) to independently investigate the claims. Ed was suspended the same day and removed from his on-air responsibilities pending investigation.”
The lawsuit by Henry says Scott’s statement lent “credence to the false allegations because she was trying to save her own career and burnish her image as a tough, no nonsense female executive who cleaned up Fox News. In reality, however, Ms. Scott had long been an instrument to cover up the existence of sexual misconduct at Fox News,” adding she “has repeatedly covered up sexual misconduct by senior Fox News management.”
Henry also says in the suit that “Scott had long been an instrument to cover up the existence of sexual misconduct at Fox News.” The suit charges that she “had such 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.”
Fox News fired back.
“As we stated one year ago, Fox News Media conducted a thorough independent investigation into Ed Henry immediately after we were made aware of a serious misconduct claim against him by a former employee. Based on the results of those findings, we promptly terminated Mr. Henry’s employment for willful sexual misconduct and stand by the decision entirely,” the network said in a statement.
“We are fully prepared to vigorously defend against these baseless allegations as Mr. Henry further embarrasses himself in a lawsuit rife with inaccuracies after driving his personal life into the ground with countless extramarital affairs in a desperate attempt for relevance and redemption,” the statement said.
On the allegations about Scott’s role in covering up other sexual misconduct at the network, Fox said the company is proud of the work she has done to “transform the company culture, implementing annual, mandatory in-person harassment prevention training, creating an entirely new reporting structure, more than tripling the size of our HR footprint, conducting quarterly company meetings and mentoring events, as well as executing a zero tolerance policy regarding workplace misconduct for which we engage outside independent firms to handle investigations.”
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