Fired Fox News anchor files defamation lawsuit against network, CEO over misconduct allegations

Former Fox News anchor Ed Henry is suing the network for defamation for statements the company made when they fired him over allegations of sexual misconduct. 

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. district court in Newark, N.J., seeks punitive damages and accuses top brass at Fox News of issuing a statement that "sandbagged" Henry in July of 2020, according to USA Today. 

"On Thursday, June 25, we received a complaint about Ed Henry from a former employee's attorney involving willful sexual misconduct in the workplace years ago," Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott and Jay Wallace, Fox News Media's president and executive editor, said in a memo at the time. "We immediately retained an outside law firm (which has never represented Fox News in investigations or litigation) to independently investigate the claims. Ed was suspended the same day and removed from his on-air responsibilities pending investigation." 

Henry has denied allegations of misconduct while at the network. 

Scott, Henry's lawsuit alleges, gave "credence to the false allegations because she was trying to save her own career and burnish her image as a tough, no nonsense female executive who cleaned up Fox News." 

In reality, the suit argues, "Scott had long been an instrument to cover up the existence of sexual misconduct at Fox News," and had a long history of covering up allegations of misconduct by upper management at the network. 

In a statement issued this week, Fox News shot down the claims Henry made about Scott and the network in his suit. 

“As we stated one year ago, Fox News Media conducted a thorough independent investigation into Ed Henry immediately after we were made aware of a serious misconduct claim against him by a former employee. Based on the results of those findings, we promptly terminated Mr. Henry’s employment for willful sexual misconduct and stand by the decision entirely," the statement reads.

Fox News said it is "fully prepared to vigorously defend" itself against what it called "baseless allegations," saying Henry's lawsuit is "rife with inaccuracies" and mocking him for "driving his personal life into the ground with countless extramarital affairs in a desperate attempt for relevance and redemption.”

As for the allegations about Scott's role in covering up workplace misconduct, Fox said the company is proud of the work she has done to "transform the company culture, implementing annual, mandatory in-person harassment prevention training, creating an entirely new reporting structure, more than tripling the size of our HR footprint, conducting quarterly company meetings and mentoring events, as well as executing a zero tolerance policy regarding workplace misconduct for which we engage outside independent firms to handle investigations." 

Henry's lawsuit comes days after Fox News agreed to pay a $1 million penalty amid an investigation into workplace culture by the New York City Commission on Human Rights.