Britt McHenry, who hosts a show on the Fox Nation streaming service, sued Fox News on Tuesday, saying the network had failed to respond to four sexual harassment complaints that she made against her former co-host, George Murdoch, and then retaliated against her for making those claims while giving him his own show.
Ms. McHenry said in court documents that she had “suffered humiliation, emotional anguish, derailment of her career, and significant loss of economic opportunities” as a result of her treatment by the network. The suit, filed in United States District Court in Manhattan, also names Mr. Murdoch, a former professional wrestler known by the stage name “Tyrus,” as well as three Fox News executives.
The lawsuit is the latest sexual harassment claim to hit Fox News, which was rocked by a drumbeat of allegations by female employees that led to millions of dollars in settlements and the departure of its chairman and chief executive, Roger Ailes, in 2016 and its highest-rated host, Bill O’Reilly, in 2017.
“I am standing up for myself, for women and for what’s right,” Ms. McHenry wrote on Twitter on Tuesday. “I have maintained the same allegations because the truth doesn’t change. I feel for any sexual harassment victim who has their story and evidence dismissed, doubted and not believed.”
Ms. McHenry claims in her suit that Mr. Murdoch, with whom she co-hosted the streaming program “Un-PC,” sent her sexually inappropriate text messages, threatened to send her a picture of his genitalia, and talked about having sex with her over the course of several months last year.
Ms. McHenry said she complained to Fox executives three times earlier this year but was asked what she did to “provoke” Mr. Murdoch and was told she was “replaceable,” according to her lawsuit. Her agent also complained on her behalf, she said in the suit.
Ms. McHenry claimed that after executives received a fourth complaint about Mr. Murdoch, she was “frozen out by Fox News management” and stopped receiving opportunities to appear on its television programs, which have much higher viewership than its streaming service.
Meanwhile, she said, her former co-host was promoted to be the host of his own streaming show, “Nuff Said.”
Tom Clare, a lawyer representing Mr. Murdoch, denied Ms. McHenry’s accusations in a statement on Tuesday.
“Tyrus denies the allegations in the lawsuit and will be defending it vigorously,” Mr. Clare said. “He 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.”
Fox News said in a statement that it had investigated Ms. McHenry’s accusations, including when she filed similar allegations with the New York State Division of Human Rights in October, and found them to be baseless.
“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,” the statement said. “We expect all of her claims to be dismissed.”
But in her suit, which requests a jury trial, Ms. McHenry said the investigation into her claims had also been marred by sexual harassment. She said an investigator told her on two occasions in September that she was “really pretty,” and said to her, in reference to Mr. Murdoch, “Come on, you didn’t know you were leading him on?”
“After payouts of over $100 million in recent sexual harassment scandals, Fox News publicly says it now has ‘zero tolerance’ for sexual harassment,” the lawsuit says. “This is a dangerous lie. In practice, Fox News remains a sanctuary for sexual harassers, coddling and enabling the men who abuse female employees.”
Court documents filed on Tuesday outline what Ms. McHenry described as “volatile and unpredictable behavior at work” from Mr. Murdoch, including temper tantrums and fits of shouting in addition to inappropriately sexual text messages.
“I love ponytails and braids you look amazing and it’s a real turn on not that you care but I love it,” Mr. Murdoch wrote to her on Oct. 31, 2018, the suit claims. Two days later, he sent her an expletive-laced series of messages about her legs.
“Is it creepy how I look at you ???” Mr. Murdoch asked her, according to the lawsuit. “FYI you’ll need those legs to escape from me in Montana.”
The messages continued two weeks later, after a work dinner during which Ms. McHenry said Mr. Murdoch drank to excess and then behaved in an “aggressive and overtly sexualized manner” toward her. After the dinner, Mr. Murdoch saw a picture of Ms. McHenry and decided to send her a message.
“The picture looks so good I would knock the picture up,” he wrote, according to the suit. “Crazy sexy love your legs.”
In a statement, Ms. McHenry’s lawyer, Lisa Bloom, said she thought the network had not learned from its experiences with Mr. Ailes and Mr. O’Reilly.
“Britt McHenry’s bombshell story should not be happening at Fox News in 2019,” Ms. Bloom said. “I am proud to represent her as she demands justice.”
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