A U.S. district court in southern New York dismissed former Fox News host Ed Henry’s defamation lawsuit against the network Tuesday, citing that he had failed to prove the sexual misconduct allegations that led to his termination were false.
“The Court finds that Henry has failed to plausibly allege that any of Defendants’ statements were false, or that they gave rise to a defamatory inference,” wrote U.S. district judge Ronnie Abrams in court documents obtained by TheWrap. “His First Amended Complaint (the “complaint”) also lacks factual allegations to sustain his remaining claims for false light/invasion of privacy and tortious interference. The complaint is thus dismissed in its entirety, albeit with leave to amend if Henry has a good faith basis to do so.”
In July 2021, Henry filed a lawsuit for defamation, invasion of privacy and tortious interference against his former employer Fox News Network LLC and Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott, claiming that accusations of alleged sexual misconduct lobbied against him and the internal investigation that followed were wrongfully framed as the reason for his termination.
Henry was abruptly fired from Fox News in July 2020 “based on the investigative findings” of the “willful sexual misconduct” allegations, per a statement from the network. His suit claims that the statement from the company was made, “publicly humiliating him in the process,” and that it was a tactic employed to bolster the narrative that the network was reformed following prior instances of misconduct in the workplace. He also alleged that the public dismissal was meant to advance Scott’s own career.
“Regrettably, Ms. Scott sandbagged Plaintiff with her statement, lending credence to the false allegations because she was trying to save her own career and burnish her image as a tough, no nonsense female executive who cleaned up Fox News,” the suit says. “In reality, however, Ms. Scott had long been an instrument to cover up the existence of sexual misconduct at Fox News…. Thus, Ms. Scott used Plaintiff as a scapegoat to divert attention away from her own sordid history at Fox News.”
Judge Abrams ruled, however, in Scott and Fox News Network LLC’s favor.
In June 2020, Henry was accused of “violently” raping former Fox Business producer Jennifer Eckhart – a relationship he cited as a “consensual” one that spanned 2014 to 2017 – and sending “wildly inappropriate sexual images” to a second, unidentified woman.
In May of this year, Henry voluntarily dismissed “with prejudice” a second defamation lawsuit he’d filed against NPR and CNN for their reporting on his firing from Fox News.