Suspended Fox News host Eric Bolling is suing the reporter who broke the story that he had allegedly sent lewd text messages to colleagues.
Bolling filed a $50-million defamation lawsuit Wednesday in state Supreme Court in Manhattan against Yashar Ali, a Huffington Post contributing writer. The cable news host said Ali damaged his reputation through what the court papers call the “highly reckless publication of actionable false and misleading statements about the plaintiff’s conduct and character.”
Bolling was suspended over the weekend pending an internal investigation that a Fox spokesperson said is underway.
Ali wrote last week that Bolling is accused of sending unsolicited photos of male genitalia to co-workers over several years.
On Wednesday, the reporter tweeted that he stands by his story and will protect his sources. Ali also wrote that he is not going to stop reporting on Bolling “or anyone else. I’ve had family members killed/jailed in Iran, a lawsuit isn’t going to scare me.”
Huffington Post editor in chief Lydia Polgreen, a former top New York Times editor, tweeted in support of Ali on Tuesday night. “Yashar Ali is a careful and meticulous reporter,” Polgreen wrote, adding that the publication stands by his reporting and that it has “no hesitation about standing by him financially in this case.” Huffington Post is owned by Verizon thanks to its 2015 purchase of AOL.
Bolling’s lawyer, Michael J. Bowe, said in a statement: “This anonymously sourced and uncorroborated story is false, defamatory, and obviously intended to destroy this good man’s career and family. We will defend Eric aggressively in court, where actual facts, based on evidence, testimony, and cross-examination, will belie these anonymous accusations.”
Bolling tweeted that he “will continue to fight against these false smear attacks! THANK YOU FOR CONTINUED SUPPORT.”
Huffington Post is not involved in the legal action.