Eric Bolling of Fox News is fighting back against the reporter who wrote a damaging article about him in the Huffington Post.
In the article, the writer makes allegations that Bolling sent lewd photographs via text to female co-workers, years ago. The article was published on the Huffington Post website earlier this week.
Almost immediately after the article surfaced, Fox News suspended Bolling pending an investigation.
Meanwhile, Bolling’s lawyer says the Fox News host denies he sent sexually suggestive texts as described in the article.
In addition to his denial, Bolling is now swinging back at the writer who wrote the article. Today, Bolling’s lawyers launched a $50 million lawsuit at Yashar Ali, the journalist who wrote the story for the Huffington Post.
“The nature of this action is for damages and injunctive relief based on defamation arising from the defendant’s efforts to injure the plaintiff’s reputation through the intentional and/or highly reckless publication of actionable false and misleading statements about the plaintiff’s conduct and character,” says a summons that Huffington Post freelancer Yashar Ali received today from Bolling’s attorneys at Kasowitz Benson Torres LLP.
“The relief sought includes, but is not limited to, reputational damages, monetary damages, special damages, punitive damages, costs, fees, injunctive relief and such other relief as is just and proper, in an amount not less than $50 million,” adds the filing, which also showed up in New York Supreme Court on Wednesday (read it here).
The Huffington Post is not named in the defamation suit by Bolling.
In response to the lawsuit, Yashar Ali took to Twitter to say he wasn’t impressed or intimidated:
Just received a summons. Eric Bolling is suing me for defamation – $50 million in damages. I stand by my reporting + will protect my sources
— Yashar Ali (@yashar) August 9, 2017
In the article about Bolling’s alleged wrongdoing, Ali fails to mention any of the women who claim to have received the sexually explicit text. Although Ali points out that 14 people confirmed the text did exist, and that Bolling’s behavior was inappropriate, not a single woman was willing to put their name in print.
Having that to his credit, it appeared Bolling would walk away from the allegations without any real damage done to his name or reputation. That was until August 5, when a former Fox News guest lashed out against Bolling on Facebook.
Former Fox News guest, Caroline Heldman penned a scathing post on Facebook detailing how Eric Bolling, as well as former Fox News superstar O’Reilly, and Fox executive Woody Fraser had harassed her time and again. Heldman, who is now a college professor, made no mention of the sexually explicit text message in question.
HERE IS Caroline Heldman’s FULL STATEMENT
** Long Post, TW for Sexual Harassment**
Fox News just suspended Eric Bolling pending allegations that he sent photos of his genitalia to female colleagues. My only surprise is that it took this long for people to come forward about Bolling’s behavior, which has been wildly inappropriate for years.
I did hundreds of appearances on Fox and Fox Business from 2008 – 2011, and had multiple experiences with Bolling that caused grave concern to my friends and family. Bolling referred to me as “Dr. McHottie” on air on four different occasions, and called me “smart, beautiful, and wrong” on air twice. I pushed back with “Mr. McSexist,” but I shouldn’t have had to. This on-air behavior was perfectly acceptable to Fox executives at the time.
Bolling would also contact me via phone and text after shows, sometimes to apologize for his behavior (and then do it again), and sometimes just to talk. He said he wanted to fly me out to New York for in-studio hits and to have “fun.” He asked me to have meals with him on several occasions, but I found excuses not to go. Once, he took me up to his office in New York, showed me his baseball jerseys, and in the brief time I was there, let me know that his office was his favorite place to have sex. I know other women have had similar experiences with Bolling, which means that lots of folks at Fox knew about his behavior well before 2017.
Bolling was one of three men from whom I experienced sexual harassment and gender discrimination (the others being Bill O’Reilly and Woody Fraser).
O’Reilly was creepy in person; told me “when I was in college, professors didn’t look like you”; then called me “hysterical” during a show, edited the interview, and retaliated by never having me on his show again. http://www.msnbc.com/…/3-accusers-on-trump-s-defense-of-o-r…
Fraser took me under his wing as a mentor; constantly pressured me for a relationship and sex; took an idea for a show that would become The Five (I emailed Fraser a treatment that is remarkably similar to The Five, right down to some of the hosts, a year before The Five aired); dangled a contributorship and a hosting position for a sexual relationship; then stopped my appearances when I didn’t acquiesce to his advances. http://www.motherjones.com/…/fox-news-sexual-harassment-he…/
Fox News guests are also a problem. In 2010, I consoled a make-up artist (who no longer works for Fox) after Gene Simmons sexually harassed her, and this was not his first time doing so. On March 20, 2011, Lenny Dykstra persistently asked me to a party and told me that he gets “sexually aroused when I talk politics.” He also harassed the make-up artist who was curling my hair at the time. Make-up artists at Fox are contract workers, so many are fearful of speaking up because they simply won’t be hired again. If any Fox executives are reading this, please include make-up artists in your assessment of the environment. They see and hear a lot, and are sometimes the target of harassment from hosts and guests.
There are a lot of great people working at Fox, many of whom I admire and respect to this day, but there is also a culture of sexual harassment that has not fully been addressed. I have faith that, given recent decisions to fire and suspend perpetrators, the new management will effectively shift this culture.
— end of statement —
Bolling, who went to Fox News after a stint with CNBC, is one of the network’s biggest stars and a staunch supporter of President Trump.
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