Fired Fox News producer said she was coerced into giving misleading testimony
A former Fox News producer has altered her deposition testimony in the defamation case against the network, claiming she was coerced by company lawyers to give misleading answers.
Abby Grossberg was fired Friday by Fox News days after she filed her lawsuit in New York and Delaware that alleged discrimination based on gender, religion and disability.
Her suit claims she was bullied and subjected to sexist and antisemitic comments while working as head of booking for the Fox News program “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”
Tucker Carlson’s last program was Friday, Fox News said. His ouster is probably related to a discrimination lawsuit filed by a former producer.
An amended lawsuit, which changes a number of answers she provided in the deposition testimony she gave last year, was filed Monday.
Grossberg had been moved to a role as head of booking on “Tucker Carlson Tonight” last year after working as senior booking producer for “Sunday Morning Futures,” the weekly show hosted by Maria Bartiromo. Bartiromo’s program figures prominently in Dominion Voting Systems’ defamation suit against Fox News.
Dominion is seeking $1.6 billion in damages, claiming Fox News deliberately aired former President Trump’s false claims of voter fraud in the 2020 election to placate its viewers, who were fleeing the network in anger over how it called the state of Arizona for President Biden.
Guests on Fox News made false claims about Dominion’s ownership and said that its machines were used to manipulate votes to favor President Biden. Fox News has maintained that the allegations were newsworthy and that its reporting is protected by the 1st amendment.
A Fox News representative said in a statement that Grossberg was terminated last week for disclosing privileged company information in her suit.
“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,” the representative said. “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.”
The statement reiterated the company’s assertion that Grossberg’s claim is “riddled with false allegations against Fox and our employees.”
Grossberg said Fox News attorneys manipulated her deposition testimony to create the false narrative that “nothing falls through the cracks” at Fox News and “paints a false picture of her as an inept journalist who ignored relevant warnings from Dominion and disregarded the truth.”
Tucker Carlson, a fixture on conservative cable channel Fox News, exited the network on April 24.
She also said she was told to downplay the importance of ratings at Fox News, despite her knowledge that Bartiromo was “obsessed” with them.
Grossberg’s amended complaint alleges she was forced by attorneys to not discuss her workload on the program, where Trump’s lawyers Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell were given free rein to present false claims about voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election.
Grossberg said Fox News lawyers instructed her in prep sessions to “downplay how overworked and understaffed she was, as well as diminish her actual position” at the network.
The amended suit said Grossberg’s deposition testimony, “as manufactured by Fox News,” put her and Bartiromo “squarely on the frontline of the Dominion/Fox lawsuit so they could be scapegoated as sacrificial female lambs.”
Grossberg’s suit included corrections to her deposition testimony, which now details how her workload impaired her ability to vet guests and verify information presented on “Sunday Morning Futures.”
The host of ‘Sunday Morning Futures’ and morning host for Fox Business Network figures prominently in Dominion’s claims that the network lied about election fraud.
In her deposition testimony given last year, Grossberg was asked if she felt obligated to correct any misinformation given by guests on “Sunday Morning Futures.” She said no.
Grossberg’s filing amended her answer to say, “Yes, because (‘Sunday Morning Futures’) was an interview show, Maria tried to get to the bottom of stories through conversation, and although our guests had the right to answer how they pleased, it was Maria’s responsibility to push back against untrue statements with facts, or follow-up questions, which I always prepared for her.”
Grossberg also changed an answer to a question about whether she and Bartiromo were “open and honest with each other” when they worked together.
“I tried to be open and honest with her, but don’t believe that Maria Bartiromo was always open and honest with me,” Grossberg said in her revised testimony.
Another change she made was to a reply to being asked if she trusted the producers she worked with at Fox News.
Grossberg replaced her answer of “yes” with, “No, I don’t trust all the producers at Fox ... they’re activists, not journalists and impose their political agendas on the program”
Dominion’s motion for a summary judgment reveals what some Fox News execs and anchors were really thinking while giving a voice to Trump’s voter fraud claims.
Grossberg said her previous answers were “based on what I understood and took away from the deposition preparation sessions I had with Fox’s legal team, which were coercive and intimidating.”
“I felt that I had to do everything possible to avoid becoming the ‘star witness’ for Dominion or else I would be seriously jeopardizing my career at Fox News and would be subjected to worse terms and conditions of employment than offered to male employees as I understood it,” she said.
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