NEW YORK (AP) — Fox News will pay one of its former producers $12 million to settle her claims that she faced a discriminatory workplace and that the network coerced her into giving false or misleading testimony in Dominion Inc.’s defamation lawsuit, her lawyer said Friday.
The payout to Abby Grossberg will settle all litigation that she brought against Fox Corp., Fox News Network and her former co-workers, including former Fox host Tucker Carlson.
The settlement was revealed with the filing of a “Notice of Voluntary Dismissal” in a lawsuit she had brought this year in Manhattan federal court. The judge accepted the filing and closed the case.
Although the notice did not reference the terms of the settlement, Grossberg’s attorney, Parisis G. Filippatos, said in an interview that his client will receive $12 million.
In a statement, Fox News said: “We are pleased that we have been able to resolve this matter without further litigation.”
Grossberg said in a statement that while she stands by claims she made in her Manhattan lawsuit and another lawsuit in the Delaware State Superior Court, she was “heartened that Fox News has taken me and my legal claims seriously. 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.”
Lawsuit: Fox lawyers ‘coerced, intimidated and misinformed’
The Manhattan lawsuit claimed that Fox’s legal team “coerced, intimidated, and misinformed” Grossberg during preparations for her testimony in a legal battle between the network and Dominion, an elections technology company.
She maintained in the lawsuit that she had received “damaging and woefully inferior and inadequate legal representation” compared to male counterparts at Fox News and that the experience had resulted in “irretrievable reputational and emotional harm.”
In April, just before opening statements were to begin at trial, Fox agreed to pay more than $787 million to settle the lawsuit with Dominion Voting Systems over the network’s airing of false claims following the 2020 presidential election. The settlement was reached shortly before Carlson was expected to be called to testify.
Less than a week later, on April 24, Carlson, the network’s most popular personality, was fired. Grossberg had worked as “Head of Booking” for Carlson from Sept. 5 until March.
In her federal lawsuit, Grossberg asserted that Carlson’s show had a cruel and misogynistic workplace, and that she had been pressured to give misleading testimony during a pretrial deposition in the Dominion case.
As Grossberg noted in the lawsuit, Dominion had quoted from her deposition in one of its pretrial court filings to support its position that Fox News hosts, producers and executives knew statements about the 2020 election being “stolen” from President Donald Trump were false or recklessly disregarded the truth.
The lawsuit said Dominion directly cited Grossberg’s answer when she was posed the question: “If someone says something untrue on one of your shows, do you think it’s important to correct it?”
“No,” she answered.
Her lawsuit said: “This was not the testimony Ms. Grossberg wanted to give but she had been conditioned and felt coerced to give this response that simultaneously painted her in a negative light as a professional.”
According to her lawsuit, she requested a copy of her deposition transcript after her deposition and expressed concern that her testimony was not fully accurate because of the intimidating and confusing coaching she’d received. But lawyers at Fox News withheld the transcript.
When prominent media outlets called her journalism and professional ethnics into question based on excerpts of her deposition included in Dominion’s pretrial arguments, Grossberg began to experience severe anxiety and stress because of the public distribution of her uncorrected transcript, the lawsuit said.