Fox News has fired a producer who filed a lawsuit against the network in which she claimed that she was coached and coerced by the network’s lawyers to give misleading deposition testimony in the defense against Dominion Voting Systems’ defamation lawsuit.
In her lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in New York and Delaware Superior Court on Monday, Abby Grossberg’s attorneys said that she had been put on forced administrative leave. They also claimed the network retaliated against her after she complained about unlawful harassment based on her gender and Jewish religion.
In a statement, Fox News said, “Like most organizations, Fox News Media’s attorneys engage in privileged communications with our employees as necessary to provide legal advice. Last week, our attorneys advised Ms. Grossberg that, while she was free to file whatever legal claims she wished, she was in possession of our privileged information and was not authorized to disclose it publicly. We were clear that if she violated our instructions, Fox would take appropriate action including termination. Ms. Grossberg ignored these communications and chose to file her complaint without taking any steps to protect those portions containing Fox’s privileged information. We will continue to vigorously defend Fox against Ms. Grossberg’s unmeritorious legal claims, which are riddled with false allegations against Fox and our employees.” Variety first reported on her termination.
Grossberg has worked on shows hosted by Maria Bartiromo and Tucker Carlson, two figures who figure prominently in Dominion’s lawsuit against the network. She claimed that as she faced a deposition in the Dominion case, the network’s attorneys were trying to subtly shift “all responsibility for the alleged defamation against Dominion onto her shoulders and by implication, those of her trusted female colleague, Ms. Bartiromo, rather than the mostly male higher ups at Fox News who endorsed the repeated coverage of the lies against the Dominion.”
The network also had filed a motion for a temporary restraining and preliminary injunction in New York Supreme Court, arguing against Grossberg’s release of attorney-client communications. But it later dropped that lawsuit.
Grossberg claimed of a “toxic” workplace culture, where misogynistic comments were common among staffers of Carlson’s show. She alleged that she was subjected to the harassment by Alexander McCaskill and Justin Wells, producers on Tucker Carlson Tonight.
Grossberg’s attorney, Parisis G. Filippatos, did not immediately return a request for comment.
Fox News and Dominion attorneys gave oral arguments this week in the Dominion case as each side sought a judge’s ruling to perhaps stave off a jury trial. The judge, Eric M. Davis, did not indicate how he would rule on their motions for summary judgment. But he did reference Grossberg’s lawsuit, saying that she had submitted an errata document seeking to make changes to her deposition. Davis suggested that Fox was trying to “claw back” her submission, arguing that it was privileged information, and said that the network attorneys could elaborate in their reasoning.