Former Fox News employee Laurie Luhn filed suit against the network and its current CEO Suzanne Scott for defamation, and for what she said was Scott’s role in covering up sexual misconduct committed by former network chief Roger Ailes during Luhn’s employment there.
The complaint, filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on Wednesday, is seeking $120 million in damages and accuses Scott (pictured above) of defaming Luhn after telling Los Angeles Times reporter Stephen Battaglio in a profile earlier this month that she had no knowledge of Ailes’ behavior (despite being one of his closest associates.)
“I had no clue on what was going on in Roger Ailes’ office,” Scott told Battaglio. “I have never had any issues with any sort of harassment myself.”
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“These are provably false statements of fact that were made by Defendant Scott to defame, discredit, smear and hold Plaintiff Luhn in a false light,” the suit reads. “Defendant Scott was aware of the allegations by Plaintiff Luhn, and was much more directly involved in the cover-up of Ailes’ conduct and served as an “enabler” to Ailes’ conduct in this regard. Defendant Scott aided and abetted in the sexual abuse cover-up.”
“In sum, and as set forth below, Defendants Scott and FNC have engaged in a criminal enterprise to further their financial well-being by covering up the sexual abuse and discrimination,” it continues.
In a terse statement, Fox News dismissed the suit and attacked Luhn’s lawyer Larry Klayman, responding, “Larry Klayman’s latest lawsuit is utterly frivolous and entirely without merit or credibility.”
“It is time for the ‘evil ghost of Roger Ailes,’ which Scott, the current CEO of Fox profits from and which she continues to cover for, to be totally ‘exorcized,'” Klayman said in a statement after filing the suit. “Suzanne Scott and Fox must be severely punished for the continued severe harm done to my client, who represents not just herself but effectively all of the women victims of Ailes and his enablers like Scott.”
Luhn has a history of litigious behavior with respect to anything surrounding her former employer.
In January, she filed suit against Showtime for $750 million and sought a permanent injunction to prevent the network from using her likeness in their upcoming Roger Ailes series “The Loudest Voice.” In the suit, Luhn accused Showtime of mischaracterizing her time at Fox News and portrayed her as a willing collaborator, helping Ailes sexually harass other women.
Luhn, who spent two decades at Fox News, described her own ordeal with Ailes in the suit including his repeatedly telling her that “I own you” and forcing her to “purchase black garters and stockings to wear for Ailes, which he called her ‘uniform.” The suit also said Ailes pressured her into oral sex during an encounter in a hotel room in 2004.