Eric Bolling, the suspended Fox News host, initiated a $50 million defamation lawsuit on Wednesday against the author of a HuffPost report that said Mr. Bolling had sent lewd photographs to three female colleagues.
The article, by Yashar Ali, cited a dozen unidentified people who said that Mr. Bolling had “sent an unsolicited photo of male genitalia via text message to at least two colleagues at Fox Business and one colleague at Fox News.” On Saturday, a day after the article was published, Fox News said it had suspended Mr. Bolling pending an investigation into the accusations. The network said it had learned about the allegations following an inquiry from HuffPost.
Mr. Bolling is seeking at least $50 million in reputational, monetary and punitive damages and other costs, according to a summons filed in State Supreme Court in Manhattan. The summons cites what it calls Mr. Ali’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.”
Mr. Bolling, who was most recently a host of “The Fox News Specialists,” is represented by Michael J. Bowe of the law firm Kasowitz Benson Torres. Marc E. Kasowitz, one of the firm’s partners, is a longtime personal lawyer for President Trump who has also represented Bill O’Reilly, the former Fox News host who was ousted in April amid allegations of sexual harassment.
“This anonymously sourced and uncorroborated story is false, defamatory, and obviously intended to destroy this good man’s career and family,” Mr. Bowe said in a statement. “We will defend Eric aggressively in court, where actual facts, based on evidence, testimony and cross-examination, will belie these anonymous accusations.”
Mr. Ali, in a series of messages posted on Twitter on Wednesday, said he stood by his reporting and would protect his sources.
“Not going to stop reporting on Eric Bolling or anyone else,” he said in one post. “I’ve had family members killed/jailed in Iran, a lawsuit isn’t going to scare me.”
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SOURCE: NY Times, Emily Steel