Fox News settled a pair of explosive lawsuits from former producer Abby Grossberg for $12 million on Friday, putting to bed yet another legal headache for the conservative cable giant.
CNN’s Oliver Darcy first reported on June 15 that Grossberg and her lawyers were in the final stages of drawing up a settlement with Fox News. The settlement comes after Fox owners Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch have settled several other recent legal complaints, including the blockbuster defamation suit by Dominion Voting Systems.
“It has been the honor of my career to serve as Abby’s attorney over the past year – a more courageous and honest person, skilled and devoted journalist, and fierce advocate for justice I have never met,” Grossberg’s attorney, Parisis G. Filippatos, said in a statement. “I am certain that we will hear much from Abby in the future once she has taken some much-needed personal time to process the momentous events in her life over the past few years.”
Both of the former Fox News producer's cases against the right-wing network have now been discontinued with prejudice following Fox News’ payment to Grossberg.
The hostile work environment suit in the Southern District of New York was dismissed on Thursday. Grossberg’s complaint alleging Fox News coerced her into giving false testimony was voluntarily dismissed last month ahead of the settlement and was never re-filed.
“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my publicly filed claims and allegations, in light of today's settlement of $12 million, pursuant to which I have now withdrawn those claims, I am heartened that Fox News has taken me and my legal claims seriously,” Grossberg said in a statement after the settlement was reached. “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.”
She added that while she “will not comment further on my publicly filed disputes with Fox,” she “will continue to speak out on issues and causes that I believe in, including journalism, equality, dignity, and respect in the workplace.”
Grossberg, who served as a senior producer for Fox anchor Maria Bartiromo and ex-Fox News star Tucker Carlson, had accused the network of coercing her to give false and misleading testimony when she was deposed in Dominion’s billion-dollar lawsuit against Fox. The right-wing channel, meanwhile, repeatedly insisted that Grossberg’s complaint was “riddled with false allegations” and that their lawyers never acted improperly.
“We are pleased that we have been able to resolve this matter without further litigation,” Fox News said in a statement on Thursday.
“I stand by and defer to my publicly filed claims and allegations and any public statements I or my attorneys have made concerning my employment at Fox News,” Grossberg said on Friday about her employment at the network. “I will not make any further remarks concerning my employment at Fox News at this time and ask that you respect my decision.”
Ahead of the Dominion trial in April, which Fox quickly ended with a $787.5 million settlement, Grossberg ramped up her accusations against the network—while also sharing evidence that she claimed Fox tried to conceal. She additionally accused the network of retaliatory actions against her, as she was fired after launching her litigation.
Just before the trial got underway, Grossberg amended her lawsuit to add Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott to the list of names she said were complicit in pressuring her to lie in the Dominion case. She also claimed Fox lawyers deleted messages from her phone. Furthermore, the ex-Fox News producer came forward with audio recordings of Trump allies, such as Rudy Giuliani, telling Bartiromo and others that Team Trump had no actual evidence to back their claims of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election.
Grossberg’s allegations that Fox News failed to turn over evidence in the Dominion case drew the ire of the judge overseeing the trial, who scolded Fox’s lawyers and appointed a special master to probe whether Fox had followed the court’s orders. In the end, Fox Corp. chief Lachlan Murdoch suggested that the judge’s decisions related to Grossberg’s last-minute revelations made it extremely difficult for Fox to win the case, prompting the hefty settlement.
While Fox News has put the Dominion case behind it, the network is still facing a $2.7 billion lawsuit from Smartmatic, another voting software firm alleging Fox defamed it with their election lies. Grossberg has also been subpoenaed to testify in that case.
Besides her complaint alleging Fox News pressured her to lie in her deposition, Grossberg also filed a separate lawsuit in New York accusing the network of a toxic work environment. According to that suit, Grossberg was subjected to misogyny, antisemitism, and a generally intolerable workplace when she went to work on Carlson’s show.
The stunning allegations in that lawsuit claim that Carlson’s top producers Justin Wells and Alexander McCaskill were the ringleaders in the gross work behavior, adding that the pair also retaliated against her when she complained about the harassment. For example, Grossberg alleged that Wells asked her at one point, with McCaskill present, whether Bartiromo was “fucking” House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.
In response to the settlement, Wells released a statement on behalf of the Tucker Carlson Tonight employees that Grossberg named in her workplace harassment lawsuit.
“We deny Ms. Grossberg's claims and allegations against Tucker Carlson and his team,” Wells said in his statement. “Nevertheless, we are glad that Fox has settled this matter and that all sides can move forward.”
Incidentally, since filing her lawsuit, both Wells and McCaskill have departed Fox. Wells was fired alongside Carlson in late April. McCaskill, meanwhile, parted ways this week with the network for approving the much-derided “wannabe dictator” chyron about President Joe Biden during a primetime broadcast.
Prior to the settlement, Grossberg’s attorney may have tipped their hand that they were working behind the scenes on a settlement.
Weeks after Fox News settled the Dominion case, Grossberg voluntarily dismissed the lawsuit, claiming that the network had coerced her into lying in her Dominion deposition. At the time, her lawyers said they would soon be refiling the complaint—which was initially filed in Delaware state court—in a different jurisdiction.
“Fox would be mistaken in viewing our client’s voluntary dismissal of her civil conspiracy claims as a retreat from those claims,” Grossberg’s lawyer Parisis G. Filippatos told The Daily Beast in a statement at the time.
The legal team, however, never re-filed the suit after the voluntary dismissal.