Britt McHenry sues Fox News over sexual harassment claim against former co-host Tyrus
Fox Nation personality Britt McHenry is suing Fox News, claiming the network has failed to address sexual harassment complaints she made against her former streaming show co-host Tyrus.
The suit filed Tuesday in New York State Supreme Court alleges that Tyrus, whose real name is George Murdoch, sent McHenry sexually suggestive text messages and photos and behaved inappropriately toward her when they were teamed last year as co-hosts on the Fox Nation show “Un-PC.” She also alleges that he created a hostile work environment on the set of the program after she rebuffed his advances.
Murdoch, who is not related to the Murdoch family that controls the Fox News parent company, is also named in the suit along with John Finley, the executive in charge of Fox Nation, and Jennifer Rauchet, executive producer of “Un-PC.”
McHenry, who is represented by attorney Lisa Bloom, first complained to Fox News about the alleged harassment early this year. Two outside law firms were eventually brought in to investigate the allegations. Neither inquiry supported McHenry’s claims, according to the company.
McHenry and Murdoch both remain employed at Fox Nation. After the investigation of McHenry’s claims in June, she was given a new co-host on “Un-PC,” while Murdoch was removed and given his own interview program that often takes him outside of the Fox News studios.
McHenry also filed a confidential complaint about Murdoch and Fox News with the New York State Division of Human Rights in October.
In a statement, a Fox News representative said the company continues to stand by the results of the two investigations conducted by the outside firms.
“Ms. McHenry’s lawsuit recycles the same allegations she filed with the New York State Division of Human Rights in October, to which we filed a response on Friday,” a Fox News representative said in a statement. “As we have previously stated, Ms. McHenry’s allegations have been fully investigated and we are confident our actions will be deemed entirely appropriate in litigation. We expect all of her claims to be dismissed.”
Fox News had previously said the matter “was immediately and thoroughly investigated by an outside law firm charged with providing independent factual findings and recommendations for action based on the evidence.”
Fox News has been attempting to clean up its record on sexual harassment since the issue first imploded at the company when former anchor Gretchen Carlson filed a lawsuit against the founding chief executive Roger Ailes in July 2016. Ailes, who died in May 2017, was ousted and his misdeeds — including the harassment of one of his top on-air stars, Megyn Kelly — became the basis of a Showtime TV series and the feature film “Bombshell,” which opens in theaters this week.
Harassment allegations and financial settlements to female employees who complained also led to the departure of Bill O’Reilly, the longtime, top-rated prime-time show at Fox News.and saw his network television career end as a result of the allegations, which he has denied.
McHenry’s suit said that based on her experience, Fox News’ stated policy that it now has “zero tolerance” for sexual harassment is “a dangerous lie. In practice, Fox News remains a sanctuary for sexual harassers, coddling and enabling the men who abuse female employees.”
Both McHenry and Murdoch were unconventional hires for Fox News. Murdoch is a heavily tatooed former pro wrestler — he performed in the WWE as Brodus Clay — who became a Fox News contributor in 2016.
McHenry is a one-time ESPN correspondent who became infamous through a viral security camera video that showed her berating a towing company employee while retrieving her vehicle from a parking lot. When McHenry, who is white, was let go from ESPN during a round of layoffs in 2017, she said her race was a factor.
McHenry and Murdoch were teamed at the launch of Fox Nation, a subscription-based streaming service that offers conservative talk shows and documentaries aimed at ardent Fox News fans.
Both McHenry and Murdoch occasionally appear on Fox News as commentators. One of the claims in McHenry’s suit is that her presence on the channel has diminished since she filed the harassment complaint, while the frequency of Murdoch’s appearances continue. He is a regular guest on “The Greg Gutfeld Show,” a comedy-oriented Fox News talk program that airs on Saturday nights.
In a statement to Vanity Fair, Tom Clare, an attorney representing Murdoch, said he was “unaware of any lawsuit being filed” and that his client “looks forward to having a public forum in the court system to clear his name from the smear campaign that has been waged against him in the media.”
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