Former Fox News producer Andrew Delancey is accusing Tucker Carlson’s former executive producer of sexual assault, further alleging that Fox News enabled the abuse and intimidated him into silence.
Delancey’s lawsuit, which claims Justin Wells committed assault and battery and alleges negligence and sexual harassment on Fox’s part, was filed in the Southern District of New York just ahead of the deadline for the New York Adult Survivors Act. The act, which expired late last month, temporarily lifted the statute of limitations on complaints of sexual assault. While the full complaint was filed on Monday, a brief version of the lawsuit was given to the court ahead of the expiration of the act, according to The Washington Post.
“This meritless legal action was filed 15 years after the alleged incident and mere days before the extended statute of limitations would have run,” Wells’ attorney Harmeet Dhillon told The Daily Beast. “Mr. Wells denies the allegations unequivocally, and will contest them vigorously. This is yet another attempt by a law firm with a history of suing Fox and its former employees to cash in on frivolous allegations.”
“As a general matter, if you believe you’ve been the victim of a sex crime, you have a moral obligation to alert police, so it doesn’t happen to someone else,” Carlson added in a statement provided by Wells’ attorneys. “If you wait 15 years to cash in with a civil suit, no one should take you seriously. I certainly don’t.”
Fox News did not immediately respond.
Up until April of this year, when he and Tucker Carlson were fired, Wells had been the top producer of Carlson’s highly rated primetime show. Wells, who is described in Delancey’s lawsuit as “Carlson’s right-hand man,” now works on the fired Fox News star’s streaming show on the social-media platform formerly known as Twitter.
The complaint, which states that “Wells utilized his status at Fox to prey on Mr. Delancey,” accuses Wells of not only sexually assaulting Delancey but also turning on Wells when he rebuffed the advances.
According to the complaint, Wells, who was working as a producer at Fox 5 NYC at the time, first contacted Delancey through Facebook in 2007, identifying Delancey as a member of a Fox employee group. Delancey, who was working for a local Fox station in Florida, claims he had “caught [Wells’] eye.”
Eventually, the complaint notes that Delancey took a job with Fox News Edge in 2008 and moved to New York, where Wells had begun producing Greta Van Susteren’s primetime show, where he worked until she left the network in 2016 and he was shifted over to Carlson’s program.
“Wells was not reserved about reminding Mr. Delancey that he held higher status at the Network and could, in turn, affect Mr. Delancey’s career trajectory,” the lawsuit states. “Wells told Mr. Delancey that he would help him ‘learn the ropes’ and made it clear that Wells had the ear of Fox’s top executives. As a result, Mr. Delancey was under the reasonable impression that he had to stay on Wells’s good side to succeed at Fox.”
The complaint adds that Delancey confided to Wells early on that his salary would make it difficult to live in New York City, prompting Wells to arrange an interview for Delancey with a rival network and a promise to “put in a good word” for him.
Shortly after, according to the complaint, Delancey was invited to pre-game a night of drinking at Wells’ apartment, which is where the alleged sexual assault took place.
“Before Mr. Delancey could finish half of his drink, out of nowhere, Wells aggressively pushed Mr. Delancey onto his bed where he violently forced his tongue into Mr. Delancey’s mouth,” the complaint claims. “Wells had a more muscular build than Mr. Delancey, and easily overpowered him.”
The suit continues: “Defendant Wells quickly began unbuttoning and trying to rip off Mr. Delancey’s jeans as the sexual assault progressed. Simultaneously, Wells aggressively grabbed Mr. Delancey’s genitals causing him severe pain.”
The complaint adds that Wells assaulted Delancey in a stairwell shortly after the first incident, claiming the Fox producer “reached around Mr. Delancey and stuck his hands down the front of Mr. Delancey’s pants while again trying to unbutton Mr. Delancey’s jeans.”
Delancey further alleges that he was discouraged by his immediate supervisor from filing internal complaints to Fox’s human resources department, and that Wells retaliated against him and hindered his career advancement thereafter. In the end, according to Delancey, he soon returned to his previous position at a local Florida station, having “found his career progression at Fox to be obviously halted.”
The complaint also notes that Delancey publicly shared his experience in 2017, nine years after the assault allegedly occurred. In a social-media post at the height of the #MeToo era, Delancey wrote that his “abuser still works at his high profile job in a[n] executive producer capacity.” According to the lawsuit, “perhaps with a guilty conscience,” Wells reached out to Delancey asking who committed the assault. Delancey “was too shocked to respond,” the suit says.
“After suffering in silence for many years, Mr. Delancey was inspired by the countless brave victims that filed claims under New York’s Adult Survivors Act. Mr. Delancey will no longer be intimidated by Justin Wells or Fox,” Delancey’s attorney Alfredo J. Pelicci said in a statement. “Our firm is committed to holding Mr. Wells and Fox accountable for their unlawful and abhorrent actions.”
In recent weeks, Fox News has been hit with a bevy of lawsuits from former employees, with some alleging they were fired for calling out Islamophobia in the workplace or for pushing back on the network’s lies about the Jan. 6 insurrection.
Filippatos PLLC, the law firm representing Delancey in his suit against Wells and Fox News, previously took up the case of Abby Grossberg, a former Tucker Carlson producer who accused the network of coercing her into giving false testimony in the Dominion defamation lawsuit. Additionally, she alleged Wells and other top producers of Carlson’s show subjected her to a toxic work environment, which included misogyny and antisemitism. Grossberg settled the suit in June for $12 million.