Producer Sues Fox News, Claims Network Is Setting Her Up, Along With Anchor Maria Bartiromo, to Take the Fall in $1.6 Billion Dominion Voting Fiasco
Fox responds by seeking a restraining order against producer Abby Grossberg to keep her from disclosing 'privileged' information about the Dominion matter
Fox News filed a complaint late Monday in New York State Supreme Court seeking to stop Abby Grossberg, a senior network producer and head of booking for star anchor Tucker Carlson, from releasing what it says is privileged information about the cable news network’s defense against a $1.6 billion lawsuit against it filed by Dominion Voting Systems.
“Fox News Media engaged an independent outside counsel to immediately investigate the concerns raised by Ms. Grossberg, which were made following a critical performance review. We will vigorously defend these claims," Fox News said in a statement provided to Next TV early Tuesday.
On Monday, Grossberg filed two lawsuits of her own against Fox News, one in New York, the other in Delaware, accusing Fox of coercing her depositional testimony in the Dominion case, and setting up her and anchor Maria Bartiromo to take the fall in the matter.
More broadly, Grossberg also accused Fox News of harboring an atmosphere of misogyny and sexual harassment.
Also read: Nearly 10% of Fox News Viewers Say They're Watching the Network Less Following the Dominion Lawsuit Disclosures
For backstory, Dominion sued Fox News and several other far right networks in 2021, claiming they falsely accused Dominion of helping "rig" the 2020 election against former President Donald Trump.
Over the past several months, Dominion has presented evidence including text messages showing that Fox News Channel’s most prominent on-air personalities — Carlson, Bartiromo and Sean Hannity — knew Trump's claim that the election was rigged had no merit. But fearing that Fox News's audience would turn away to a competitor that more stridently supported the bogus narrative — and Dominion’s falsely reported role in it — the Fox anchors gave support to the lie, anyway.
Telling was testimony delivered last month by Fox Corp. chairman Rupert Murdoch, who denied that Fox News as a network supported the so-called Big Lie and the bogus Dominion accusations, but conceded that some of the network's producers and anchors might have.
“Some of our commentators were endorsing it. They endorsed,” Murdoch said under oath.
Message to Bartiromo and team? Enjoy the underside of our bus.
For her part, Grossberg is accusing Fox of coercing her own testimony to fit the company's narrative. She claims she was “coached and intimated” by Fox lawyers into giving testimony she now regrets.
Further, she said Fox News’s misogynistic culture starved female on-air talent and producers of resources. And in the aftermath of the January 6, 2021, insurrection, when the false reporting that Dominion is suing about allegedly transpired, she was working with a skeleton crew to keep Bartiromo and her show on the air, stretched too thin to consider important safeguards regarding responsible reporting on Dominion's role.
Separately, in yet another broader condemnation of Fox’s workplace culture, Grossberg describes showing up for her first day as a booker for Carlson's show, seeing life-sized photos of former Democratic Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi festooned all over the Manhattan office, altered to include a plunging neckline.
On her second day working on Tucker Carlson Tonight, Grossberg said she was summoned to the office by Carlson’s top producer, Justin Wells, who asked her if she was having a sexual relationship with House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy.
Late Monday, Grossberg’s lawyer, Parisis G. Filippatos, emailed his own statement to the Daily Beast, dismissing Fox News’s attempt to enjoin his client.
“Having just received and read Fox News’s frivolous attempt to silence Abby Grossberg, we are happy that the full story regarding her case will now be heard by three separate courts in each of which we are confident she will receive the justice she deserves and certainly the fair treatment which she hasn’t experienced thus far from her employer Fox News,” Filippatos said.
Fox Corp. stock moved just under two percentage points in after-hours trading Monday evening, sustaining a trend. Despite a steady string of damning lawsuits and testimony undermining the journalistic credibility of Fox News, ratings have held largely steady for the network, and its parent company's stock price has remained largely stable.
In recent memory, the only time those bedrocks of stability were shaken came in early 2021, when Fox News’s loyal audience showed signs of defecting because it supposedly didn't feel that the network was stridently supporting the Big Lie enough. ■
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Daniel Frankel is the managing editor of Next TV, an internet publishing vertical focused on the business of video streaming. A Los Angeles-based writer and editor who has covered the media and technology industries for more than two decades, Daniel has worked on staff for publications including E! Online, Electronic Media, Mediaweek, Variety, paidContent and GigaOm. You can start living a healthier life with greater wealth and prosperity by following Daniel on Twitter today!