Speed Reads

Dominion v. Fox News

Fox News seeks gag order for producer who claims she was coerced to mislead in Dominion deposition

Fox News on Monday afternoon took the unusual step of seeking a restraining order against one of its own producers, Abby Grossberg, who filed two lawsuits Monday accusing Fox News of gender discrimination and coercing her into giving misleading testimony in her deposition for Dominion Voting Systems. Dominion is suing Fox for $1.6 billion in a defamation suit, and Grossberg's work with Fox Business anchor Maria Bartiromo is a key part of Dominion's case that Fox knowingly shared false conspiracy theories about Dominion changing election results. 

Fox's request for a gag order against Grossberg, filed in New York State Supreme Court, seeks to prevent her from sharing any discussions she had with Fox lawyers before her sworn testimony in the Dominion suit. "Ms. Grossberg has threatened to disclose Fox's attorney-client privileged information and we have filed a temporary restraining order to protect our rights," a Fox spokesperson told The Daily Beast. The network told The New York Times that it "engaged an independent outside counsel to immediately investigate the concerns raised by Ms. Grossberg, which were made following a critical performance review."

Grossberg's lawsuits accuse Fox News lawyers of coaching her in "a coercive and intimidating manner" before her Dominion deposition, giving her the impression she had to avoid mentioning prominent male executives and hosts as part of a misogynistic effort to position her and Bartiromo as scapegoats. "That's what the culture is there," she told the Times on Monday evening. "They don't respect or value women." Her complaint says Fox executives called Bartiromo a "crazy bitch" who was "menopausal."

Grossberg, who has worked as a senior producer at top booker at Tucker Carlson Tonight since last year, says she has faced harassment from two male producers at the show, and after complaining, she was pulled into a meeting with human resources and told she was not performing her duties. Her complaint recounts several instances of blatantly sexist behavior at the network, especially at Carlson's show, where male staffers allegedly joked about Jews and frequently used a vulgar term for women, among other lewd behavior. 

Fox News has now placed Grossberg on forced administrative leave, her lawyer, Parisis Filippatos, said Monday evening. Filippatos told The Washington Post that Fox's gag order is an "attempt to chill" her client, but that Grossberg's lawsuit "will reveal the truth, not the selected version of sanitized events that Fox is famous for." Grossberg filed her suits in the Southern District of New York and in Delaware Superior Court, where Fox and Dominion will appear Tuesday, the Post notes, in "probably the last major hearing before the case is expected to go to trial next month."