Andrew Napolitano Out At Fox News After Business Network Employee Alleges Sexual Harassment
Fox News Media said it broke up with legal analyst Andrew Napolitano after an associate producer alleged sexual harassment.
John Fawcett, who works for Fox Business Network's Kudlow, filed a lawsuit against the network in the New York Supreme Court (read it here) on Monday, setting out his claims against Napolitano.
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Fawcett also alleged that the show's host Larry Kudlow used ethnic slurs and made sexually inappropriate comments about women "in front of several employees," including himself and a senior vice president. He also claimed that Kudlow negated Rep. Byron Donalds (R-FL) 's appearance on the show because of his race.
In a statement, Fox News Media said: “When Fox News Media first learned of John Fawcett's allegations against Judge Andrew Napolitano, Fox News Media immediately investigated the allegations and raised the matter with both parties. The network and Judge Napolitano have since split. We take all allegations of misconduct seriously, undertake to offer all of our employees a safe, transparent and collaborative work environment and have taken appropriate measures immediately.
"Also, the additional allegations in this lawsuit are utterly baseless and nothing more than a desperate attempt to secure a payday by trying the case in the court of public opinion, as the lawsuit does not meet legal standards. We will vigorously defend the matter in court. "
Napolitano and his attorney Tom Clare did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
In the lawsuit, 27-year-old Fawcett alleged that when he started as the entry production assistant for Lou Dobbs' show at Fox Business in 2019, he encountered Napolitano in an elevator at Fox News headquarters. He claimed Napolitano made sexually suggestive comments and petted his arm.
After he got off the elevator, according to Fawcett's complaint, he told his colleagues about the encounter and “they immediately started laughing. "It was common knowledge that Judge Napolitano sexually molested young men at Fox News, and it even happened to one of the plaintiff's staff," the lawsuit said. Fawcett initially didn't report the incident to Human Resources because he didn't want to jeopardize his career on the network, but he did tell Dobbs. According to the lawsuit, Dobbs forwarded the complaint to Kevin Lord, the executive vice president and chief human resources officer at Fox Corp. Fawcett claimed that Lord then met with him and asked about the incident, but refused.
Napolitano was the subject of separate sexual misconduct lawsuits last year, one in a lawsuit by a defendant who alleged that Napolitano offered him a lighter sentence in exchange for oral sex while he was a labor judge. Another was from a New Jersey waiter who alleged sexual assault.
At the time, Clare issued a statement rejecting the claims as "total fiction".
Fawcett alleged Fox News "did not uphold Judge Napolitano (or a gay male program host) to the same standards as other employees, ironically because the company wanted to counter claims that the network was intolerant or overly conservative."
His allegations about Kudlow include allegations that the host said in a conference call with staff that he would like to have a "threesome" with Fox News host Sandra Smith. The call was, according to the lawsuit, Gary Schreier, SVP Programming at Fox Business, "but he has not reprimanded Mr. Kudlow or indicated that the comment was inappropriate." The lawsuit alleged that on another conference call, Kudlow asked MP Maria Elvira Salazar, "Why don't we just let the Mexicans in?" "He then said that 'we' need more 'jalapeno pickers'" according to Fawcett's claim, adding that Schreier was also on the call.
According to the lawsuit, on another conference call to discuss Donald's appearance, Kudlow contradicted the planned booking and allegedly said, “No. No. No. I don't want the black on the show. "
Fawcett alleged that Stephanie Freeman, executive producer of Kudlow's show, and Jenna Strem, senior producer, discriminated against male employees on the show and tried to fire them on false accusations.
Fawcett cited New York State human rights law in his lawsuit, claiming that his superiors discriminated against him on the basis of his sex. He demands unspecified damages.
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