Fox News host Eric Bolling is reportedly suing the Huffington Post reporter who broke a story last week that included several female co-workers claiming Bolling sent them lewd photos.
"Just received a summons. Eric Bolling is suing me for defamation - $50 million in damages," Yashar Ali, a HuffPost contributing writer, tweeted to his 140,000 Twitter followers on Wednesday. "I stand by my reporting + will protect my sources."
Just received a summons. Eric Bolling is suing me for defamation - $50 million in damages. I stand by my reporting + will protect my sources— Yashar Ali (@yashar) August 9, 2017
Ali also tweeted the suit targets him directly, not HuffPost.
It's important to note that Bolling's summons does not include HuffPost - he is coming after me personally. I'm a big boy...but very telling https://t.co/nvludsIV87— Yashar Ali (@yashar) August 9, 2017
Not going to stop reporting on Eric Bolling or anyone else. I've had family members killed/jailed in Iran, a lawsuit isn't going to scare me https://t.co/nvludsIV87— Yashar Ali (@yashar) August 9, 2017
"The nature of this action is for damages and injunctive relief based on defamation arising from the defendant’s efforts to injure the plaintiff’s reputation through the intentional and/or highly reckless publication of actionable false and misleading statements about the plaintiff’s conduct and character. As a result of the defendant’s actions, the plaintiff has been substantially harmed," reads the summons sent to Ali.
The editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post tweeted that the outlet will be "standing by" Ali in the case.
Yashar Ali is a paid freelancer under contract with HuffPost. We have no hesitation about standing by him financially in this case.— Lydia Polgreen (@lpolgreen) August 9, 2017
Bolling was suspended on Saturday by the network as an investigation continues into the claims that he sent harassing messages years ago via text message.
"Eric Bolling has been suspended pending the results of an investigation, which is currently underway," a Fox spokesperson said.
A Fox News spokesperson on Wednesday told The Hill that "an investigation is still ongoing" with no further comment.
Bolling is represented by Michael Bowe.
Bowe works at the same law firm as Marc Kasowitz, who was President Trump's personal attorney until July.
Bolling, who previously co-hosted "The Five," until last weekend served as a host of the new Fox News show "The Specialists" and the weekly Saturday program "Cashin' In."
A spokesperson for Fox told The Hill on Saturday that Bolling will be investigated by the Paul Weiss law firm. That's the same firm that investigated former Fox Chairman and CEO Roger Ailes, who was ousted from the network just two days after the firm began investigating. Ailes died in May.
A dozen sources told The Huffington Post, which originally reported the story, that at least two of Bolling's female colleagues at Fox Business and one at Fox News had received unsolicited photos of male genitalia from Bolling.
The messages were reportedly sent years ago and on several different occasions. The Huffington Post called the images "deeply upsetting and offensive" to the women who spoke to the news outlet about the incidents.
Bolling tweeted Monday that he looks forward "to clearing his name" as soon as possible.
“Overwhelmed by all the support I have received. Thank you,” Bolling wrote to his 706,000 followers.
"I will continue to fight against these false smear attacks!" he added on Wednesday.
I will continue to fight against these false smear attacks! THANK YOU FOR CONTINUED SUPPORT— Eric Bolling (@ericbolling) August 9, 2017
The allegations against Bolling follow a tumultuous year for Fox News.
Top-rated host Bill O’Reilly was forced out of the network after The New York Times reported that he paid $13 million to settle with five different women who accused him of sexual harassment.
— This report was updated at 8:10 p.m.