Earlier this year, Abby Grossberg, a producer for Fox News, filed a pair of explosive lawsuits against the network, Tucker Carlson, and a group of other producers. Grossberg, who worked for Carlson’s show, claimed that Fox’s lawyers coerced her to give false testimony in the now-settled defamation lawsuit by Dominion Voting Systems against Fox. She also alleged that she and host Maria Bartimoto were being set up to take the fall for the network’s decision to repeatedly air the false conspiracy theory that Dominion had manipulated the results of the 2020 election. The scapegoating, she said, was part of a larger toxic and misogynistic environment at Fox where male producers had allegedly harassed her.
Fox News swiftly fired Grossberg after she filed her lawsuits, accusing her of divulging privileged information. Now, it is settling the cases for $12 million, the New York Times reports.
The settlement with Grossberg can be seen as part of Fox News’ expensive cleanup effort after the Dominion lawsuit. Grossberg was a central figure in the Dominion case: Her deposition and emails were submitted as evidence, as were audio recordings of her interviews with such figures as Rudy Giuliani and Sen. Ted Cruz. Six days after Fox settled with Dominion for the incomprehensibly huge sum of $787.5 million, it abruptly canceled Carlson’s show.
The Times later reported Carlson was fired due to racist and sexist text messages uncovered in Dominion’s lawsuit; in one, he described having misgivings about three Trump supporters beating up an “Antifa kid” because “it’s not how white men fight.” Fox News’ board was reportedly concerned that the text messages could become public, damaging the network’s reputation if the Dominion case went to trial.
The board balking at Carlson’s texts is remarkable, in part because racism and sexism are nothing out of the ordinary for Fox News. As my colleague Inae Oh wrote of Grossberg’s claims:
One example, cited in her lawsuit, claims the office was decorated with photos of former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wearing a revealing swimsuit. Grossberg alleges Fox News employees regularly disparaged women with vulgar insults, including calling host Maria Bartiromo a “crazy bitch,” and mocked Jewish employees with antisemitic remarks. Seems pretty bad—and wholly believable.
Carlson maintains he has never met Grossberg. Another former producer, Justin Wells, continues to deny her claims. Grossberg, in a statement reported by NBC, said the settlement was a sign that the network took her claims seriously. “While I stand by my publicly filed claims and allegations, in light of today’s settlement of $12 million, pursuant to which I have now withdrawn those claims, I am heartened that Fox News has taken me and my legal claims seriously,” she said. “I am hopeful, based on our discussions with Fox News today, that this resolution represents a positive step by the Network regarding its treatment of women and minorities in the workplace.” We’ll see.