Fired Fox News host Ed Henry sues network, CEO for defamation over sexual misconduct allegation – USA TODAY


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Ed Henry, who was fired last July by Fox News Channel over a sexual misconduct allegation, sued the network Wednesday and its CEO, Suzanne Scott, for defamation.

Filed in U.S. District Court in Newark, New Jersey, Henry’s lawsuit seeks punitive damages and states the network’s CEO “sandbagged” him with a July 1, 2020, statement saying a former employee had accused Henry of sexual misconduct a week earlier and he was being fired after the findings of an external investigation.  

Henry, who co-anchored “America’s Newsroom” at the time of his dismissal, says the misconduct allegations are false.

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.” 

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Henry’s lawsuit comes a day after the New York City Commission on Human Rights fined Fox News $1 million in a settlement stemming from a sexual harassment investigation, the highest civil penalty in the commission’s history. 

The network rejected Henry’s argument in a statement to USA TODAY.

“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 statement read.

The company then lashed back at its former employee: “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.”

Fox News Media praised Scott’s performance on corporate culture issues in a separate statement.

The company has “worked tirelessly” under Scott’s leadership “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,” the statement said. 

Henry’s lawsuit also accuses Scott of “whitewashing” sexual misconduct by network employees, including an alleged affair between a company subordinate and Fox News President Jay Wallace, who co-signed the statement regarding Henry’s termination with Scott.

Fox News Media rejected Henry’s allegation. “Fox conducted a full and independent investigation of the claims against Jay Wallace – he was cleared of any wrongdoing and the allegations are false.”

Weeks after Henry’s firing in 2020, the former employee who made the complaint that resulted in his ouster sued him, alleging rape. She sued Fox, too, and claimed network executives knew of his alleged behavior and ignored it. 

Henry rejected the allegations, filing for dismissal of the suit by calling it “malicious and defamatory,” and Fox denied any wrongdoing, saying it took “swift action” in letting Henry go shortly after learning of the matter.

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