Fox News cut ties with Abby Grossberg Friday, Variety has learned, citing disclosure of privileged corporate information, after the booker and producer for such hosts as Tucker Carlson and Maria Bartiromo alleged in court filings earlier this week that she was coerced by executives into providing misleading testimony in the $1.6 billion defamation suit that Dominion Voting Systems has levied against the Fox Corp.-backed outlet.
Grossberg, who had worked as a senior booking producer for Bartiromo and head of booking for Carlson, alleged in filings in Delaware Superior Court and the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York that Fox attorneys worked to “coach, manipulate, and coerce Ms. Grossberg to deliver shaded and/or incomplete answers during her sworn deposition testimony, which answers were clearly to her reputational detriment but greatly benefitted Fox News,” according to her Delaware lawsuit.
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The now-former Fox News staffer’s allegations raised eyebrows because they were made just as Fox News and its parent, Fox Corp., were set to meet in a hearing in Delaware to find out if the Dominion case will proceed to trial, as many expect. Dominion’s suit has been explosive, with the company alleging that it is owed damages after Fox News aired false claims about the company’s actions and influence on the 2020 election. Depositions released in the case have damaged the credibility of Fox executives and anchors, several of whom expressed skepticism in texts and emails about some of the claims made about Dominion by interviewees on Fox programs.
“Like most organizations, Fox News Media’s attorneys engage in privileged communications with our employees as necessary to provide legal advice. Last week, our attorneys advised Ms. Grossberg that, while she was free to file whatever legal claims she wished, she was in possession of our privileged information and was not authorized to disclose it publicly. We were clear that if she violated our instructions, Fox would take appropriate action including termination,” Fox News said in a statement after being contacted by Variety. “Ms. Grossberg ignored these communications and chose to file her complaint without taking any steps to protect those portions containing Fox’s privileged information. We will continue to vigorously defend Fox against Ms. Grossberg’s unmeritorious legal claims, which are riddled with false allegations against Fox and our employees.”
Grossberg also alleged the prevalence of a rough culture within Fox News’ corridors, with women treated badly and Carlson staffers making crude remarks about women and Jews.
An attorney for Grossberg, Parisis G. Filippatos, could not be reached for immediate comment. Grossberg had been placed on administrative leave following disclosure of her filings and Fox filed a separate suit against her seeking to prevent her from filing claims that would offer information on her talks with its corporate attorneys.
Both sides in the Dominion case are currently waiting to hear from Judge Eric Davis as to whether he will order the case to go trial or if he will decide its outcome on his own. The judge may also have decisions about what information can be used in the case and which executives will be required to testify, and whether they must do so in person.
Fox has accused Dominion of “cherry picking” remarks from its top hosts and executives to create drama around the case, which if it goes to trial, is likely to be one of the most-talked about spectacles in the media industry in 2023. Dominion said in a statement earlier this week that “We look forward to the Court’s ruling.”
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