Dec 11, 2019

Read: Britt McHenry files sexual harassment lawsuit against Fox News

Britt McHenry. Photo: Mary F. Calvert For The Washington Post via Getty Images

Britt McHenry, a host on the Fox Nation streaming service, filed a lawsuit in the Southern District of New York Tuesday against Fox News, its parent company and several of the firm's employees over sexual misconduct allegations.

Why it matters: The suit accusing co-host George "Tyrus" Murdoch of sexually harassing McHenry for months in 2018 and alleging Fox News took retaliatory action against her after she complained is the latest sexual misconduct claim involving the network in recent years. Both Fox News and Murdoch strongly deny McHenry's claims.

  • The lawsuit states that "after payouts of over $100 million in recent sexual harassment scandals, Fox News publicly says it now has 'zero tolerance' for sexual harassment." It claims this is a "dangerous lie."
"In practice, Fox News remains a sanctuary for sexual harassers, coddling and enabling the men who abuse female employees."
— Excerpt of allegations made in McHenry's lawsuit

The big picture: McHenry first came forward earlier this year to make a complaint to Fox News on the harassment allegations and claims that Murdoch displayed "volatile and unpredictable behavior" at work and sent explicit text messages.

  • "Two outside law firms were eventually brought in to investigate the allegations," the Los Angeles Times notes.

What they're saying: Murdoch’s attorney Tom Clare said in a statement to news outlets including the New York Times that Murdoch "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."

  • "Tyrus will be pursuing defamation counterclaims," Clare said.
  • A Fox News spokesperson said in a statement issued to news outlets including Axios that 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."
"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."

Read the lawsuit:

Editor’s note: This post has been changed to correctly identify Murdoch as the person who Tom Clare said was looking forward to clearing his name (not McHenry).

Go deeper

Fox News hits record 2.5 million nightly viewers in 2019

Fox News' Sean Hannity. Photo: Jason Kempin/Getty Images for Politicon

Fox News averaged 2.5 million viewers per night in 2019, a 23-year high that made it the most viewed channel on basic cable, The Hill reports.

Our thought bubble, via Axios’ Sara Fischer: The network's record viewership comes as Americans' news consumption has become increasingly polarized — and as the left-leaning cable news audience likely split its time between rivals CNN and MSNBC.

Go deeperArrowDec 30, 2019

Chris Wallace: Trump waged "most direct sustained assault" on press in U.S. history

Chris Wallace. Photo: Paul Morigi/Getty Images

Fox News host Chris Wallace delivered a vehement critique of President Trump on Wednesday, accusing him of engaging in the most "direct sustained assault" on the free press in U.S. history, The Guardian reports.

Why it matters: Wallace's comments come amid a schism between Fox News' daytime anchors, who have largely stuck to straight news reporting, and primetime opinion hosts, who tend to fervently defend the president.

Go deeperArrowDec 12, 2019

Study: Fox News' viewership eclipses CNN, MSNBC

An iPad with a Fox News logo. Photo: Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Fox News is most-watched news outlet in roughly 70% of U.S. congressional districts, according to a new analysis of more than 1 million respondents over the past year from Morning Consult.

Why it matters: The cable giant is the biggest and most influential conservative-leaning network currently in business. The president has pushed the network to elevate more pro-Trump coverage leading up to the 2020 election.

Go deeperArrowDec 14, 2019