By Oliver Darcy, CNN Business
Former Fox News host Ed Henry, who was fired in 2020 over a sexual misconduct allegation, filed a defamation lawsuit on Wednesday against the right-wing news network and chief executive Suzanne Scott.
The lawsuit accused Scott of having “publicly smeared” Henry as a “sex criminal” when she released a statement saying he had engaged in “willful sexual misconduct” when the network terminated his contract. It also alleged invasion of privacy.
Shortly after he was fired from Fox News in July 2020, Henry was accused of rape in a lawsuit filed by Jennifer Eckhart, a former Fox Business Network producer and online personality. The lawsuit also alleged that he retaliated against two women who rejected his advances.
Henry, however, has denied the rape allegation and said his relationship with Eckhart was consensual, according to his attorney. That case is ongoing.
In a statement released Wednesday evening, a Fox News spokesperson said the company “conducted a thorough independent investigation into Ed Henry.”
“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 spokesperson said, adding that the company is “fully prepared to vigorously defend against these baseless allegations.”
Ty Clevenger, Henry’s lawyer, said he expected to prove that Scott threw his client “under the bus to burnish her image as the tough female executive who cleaned up Fox News” while covering up for others at the network.
Specifically, the lawsuit accused Scott of having “protected and promoted” Fox News president Jay Wallace, “despite the fact that he had a romantic relationship with a subordinate while he was still married.”
The lawsuit said that Fox News’ Human Resources department investigated Wallace for “having an inappropriate relationship with a subordinate” and “obtained unequivocal evidence confirming Mr. Wallace’s illicit relationship and favoritism.”
But, according to the lawsuit Henry filed, the matter was “intentionally covered up” by Scott.
Henry took issue with that given that the statement Scott and Wallace released when he was fired promised “full transparency” and noted that the network “strictly prohibits all forms of sexual harassment, misconduct, and discrimination,” the lawsuit states.
Essentially, Henry’s lawsuit accused the network of having a double standard pertaining to sexual misconduct in the workplace.
Henry, however, has not provided evidence to prove his claims.
The Fox News spokesperson said that the network “conducted a full and independent investigation of the claims” against Wallace and that he “was cleared of any wrongdoing and the allegations are false.”
The Fox News spokesperson also praised Scott on Wednesday evening, saying she had “worked tirelessly to transform the company culture.”
Henry’s lawsuit demanded punitive damages and an injunction requiring the removal of Scott and Wallace’s statement.
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