Fawcett also alleged that Larry Kudlow, the host of the show, has used ethnic slurs and made sexually inappropriate comments about women “in front of multiple staffers,” including himself and a senior vice president. He also claimed that Kudlow nixed the appearance of Rep. Byron Donalds (R-FL) on the show because of his race.
In a statement Fox News Media said: “Upon first learning of John Fawcett’s allegations against Judge Andrew Napolitano, Fox News Media immediately investigated the claims and addressed the matter with both parties. The network and Judge Napolitano have since parted ways. We take all allegations of misconduct seriously, are committed to providing a safe, transparent and collaborative workplace environment for all our employees and took immediate, appropriate action.
“Furthermore, the additional allegations laid out in this claim are completely baseless and nothing more than a desperate attempt at a payday by trying the case in the court of public opinion as the complaint does not meet the standards of the law. We will defend the matter vigorously in court.”
Napolitano and his attorney, Tom Clare, did not immediately return a request for comment.
In the lawsuit, Fawcett, 27, claimed that when he started working at Fox Business in 2019 as an entry-level production assistant working for Lou Dobbs’ show, he encountered Napolitano on an elevator at the Fox News headquarters. He alleged that Napolitano made sexually suggestive comments and stroked his arm.
After getting off the elevator, according to Fawcett’s lawsuit, he told colleagues about the encounter and “they immediately started laughing. “It was common knowledge that Judge Napolitano sexually harassed young men at Fox News, and it even happened to one of the plaintiff’s co-workers,” the lawsuit claimed. Fawcett did not initially report the incident to human resources because he did not want to jeopardize his career at the network, but he did tell Dobbs. According to the lawsuit, Dobbs relayed the complaint to Kevin Lord, the executive vice president and chief human resources officer at Fox Corp. Fawcett claimed that Lord then met with him and asked about the incident but was dismissive of it.
Napolitano was the subject of separate claims of sexual misconduct last year, one in a lawsuit filed by a criminal defendant who claimed that Napolitano, when he was still a working judge, offered him a more lenient sentence in exchange for oral sex. Another was from a New Jersey waiter who claimed sexual assault.
At the time, Clare issued a statement denying the claims as “total fiction.”
Fawcett claimed that Fox News “did not hold Judge Napolitano (or a gay male program host) to the same standards as other employees, ironically because the company wanted to counter claims that the network was intolerant or too conservative.”
His allegations about Kudlow include a claim that in a phone conference with staff, the host said that he would like to have a “three-way” with Sandra Smith, the Fox News anchor. On the call, according to the lawsuit, was Gary Schreier, SVP Programming for Fox Business, “but he did not reprimand Mr. Kudlow or indicate that the comment was inappropriate.” The lawsuit claimed that in another phone conference to talk about an appearance by Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar, Kudlow asked, “Why don’t we just let the Mexicans in?” “He then said that ‘we’ need more ‘jalapeno pickers,'” according the Fawcett’s claim, which added that Schreier was on that call as well.
According to the lawsuit, in another phone conference to talk about Donalds’ appearance, Kudlow objected to the scheduled booking and allegedly said: “No. no. no. I don’t want the black on the show.”
Fawcett claimed that Stephanie Freeman, executive producer of Kudlow’s show, and Jenna Strem, senior producer, discriminated against male staff on the show and tried to get them fired by making false accusations against them.
Fawcett cited New York State Human Rights Law in his lawsuit, alleging that his supervisors discriminated against him on the basis of his gender. He is seeking unspecified damages.