Less than a week after Eric Bolling was suspended pending an investigation over allegations of sexually suggestive texts, the Fox News Channel host today is legally lashing out to the tune of at least $50 million at the journalist who first broke the sordid tale.
“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,” says a summons that Huffington Post freelancer Yashar Ali received today from Bolling’s attorneys at Kasowitz Benson Torres LLP.
Worth noting that the same firm has long represented Donald Trump and continues to do so. Kasowitz Benson Torres LLP are also part of AMC’s legal team in their multi-year fight with Frank Darabont and CAA over profits from The Walking Dead.
“The relief sought includes, but is not limited to, reputational damages, monetary damages, special damages, punitive damages, costs, fees, injunctive relief and such other relief as is just and proper, in an amount not less than $50 million,” adds the filing, which also showed up in New York Supreme Court on Wednesday (read it here). Oddly, the Huffington Post is not named in the defamation suit by Bolling today.
Regardless and with 20 days to respond before Bolling can formally go forward, Ali certainly wasn’t backing off his work, as he made clear on social media today:
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
As first revealed on by Ali in the HuffPost on August 5, Bolling allegedly send lewd text to three female colleagues at FNC. This comes as the outlet has been hit by a series of sexual harassment and other suits since last summer when an ex-Fox & Friends host accused then head honcho Roger Ailes of such behavior. Ailes was pink slipped with a $40 million goodbye card by the Murdochs within weeks and Gretchen Carlson was paid a $20 million settlement to drop her suit last September. Ailes himself passed away in late May this year.
Though FNC has pledged to change the culture of the Ailes era, the past year has seen the likes of Bill O’Reilly, The Five co-host Bob Beckel and co-president Bill Shine also exit the outlet over issues of sexual harassment and more. The host of host of Fox Business Network’s Making Money With Charles Payne was benched last month over sexual harassment claims too – allegations he denies.
In the case of Bolling, he was suspended the same day as the allegations surfaced and the law firm of Paul, Weiss is looking into the matter, as they have previous similar matters for FNC.
Things evolved from Ali’s article later on August 5 when former longtime FBC guest Caroline Heldman went online to detail how Bolling, as well as O’Reilly and exec Woody Fraser had harassed her. “My only surprise is that it took this long for people to come forward about Bolling’s behavior, which has been wildly inappropriate for years,” Heldman wrote.
Bolling’s main lawyer Michael J. Bowe did not reply to request for comment from Deadline today, nor did FNC. The cable newser investigation of the claims against Bolling continues, a source close to the situation tells us.
As for the suspended host of Fox Business’ Cashin’ In, who re-upped with FNC back in early June, he has said there is no there there:
Overwhelmed by all the support I have received. Thank you
I look forward to clearing my name asap
— Eric Bolling (@ericbolling) August 7, 2017