California residents are likely aware that Fox News has faced more than its share of sexual harassment lawsuits in recent years. The network’s problems began in 2016 when longtime host Gretchen Carlson accused its then Chairman and CEO Roger Ailes of inappropriate behavior and nurturing a toxic work environment. That lawsuit led to Ailes ouster, a Hollywood movie, and a flood of similar complaints.
The latest lawsuit
One of the latest blows to Fox News was dealt by Britt McHenry when she accused her former co-host George Murdoch of sending her lewd and suggestive text messages. Her sexual harassment lawsuit also alleged that Fox News and three of its senior executives tried to downplay the incident and retaliated against her when she would not be silenced. The network won a victory of sorts on Dec. 18 when a federal judge in New York ruled that McHenry’s lawsuit against Murdoch could proceed but dismissed most of her other claims.
The judge who made the ruling referred to the text messages McHenry received as “unusually crude and clumsy.” He also wrote that he found no evidence to support Murdoch’s claim that McHenry had encouraged his advances. McHenry says that Murdoch reacted angrily when she complained about his behavior and circulated doctored images of her in a fit of rage. In a press statement released after the ruling was handed down, a Fox News representative referred to McHenry’s claims as “baseless.”
Evidence in sexual harassment cases
Attorneys with experience in sexual harassment cases may advise workers who have been subjected to unwelcome advances or exposed to toxic work environments to keep any inappropriate emails, text messages or other communications they receive. This kind of evidence could not only sway a jury, but it could also convince employers to settle these matters quietly at the negotiating table.