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Fox News to pay $12 million to former producer who accused the network of rampant sexism

<i>Andrew Kelly/Reuters</i><br/>A person walks by Fox News signage posted on the News Corporation building in New York City
Andrew Kelly/Reuters
A person walks by Fox News signage posted on the News Corporation building in New York City

By Marshall Cohen, CNN

(CNN) — Fox News will pay $12 million to settle a pair of major lawsuits brought by former producer Abby Grossberg, her lawyer said Friday.

Grossberg had accused Fox News of pressuring her into giving false testimony in Dominion Voting Systems’ historic defamation case against the network, and of fostering a deeply misogynist workplace. She had sued Fox News, its parent company, former primetime host Tucker Carlson and several senior executives.

In a statement announcing the settlement, Grossberg said “I stand by my publicly filed claims and allegations” but that she agreed to withdraw the lawsuits as part of the $12 million deal.

“I am heartened that Fox News has taken me and my legal claims seriously,” Grossberg said. “I am hopeful, based on our discussions with Fox News today, that this resolution represents a positive step by the Network regarding its treatment of women and minorities in the workplace.”

A Fox News spokesperson confirmed the settlement in a statement Friday, saying, “we are pleased that we have been able to resolve this matter without further litigation.” The company previously denied Grossberg’s claims, saying her suits were “riddled with false allegations.”

CNN reported earlier this month that Grossberg was finalizing a deal with the network. The settlement marks the fourth case Fox and its owners have put to an end this year, including the blockbuster Dominion defamation case, where the network paid out a whopping $787 million.

A court filing in Grossberg’s federal case in New York indicated that she voluntarily dismissed the lawsuit on Friday. She previously dropped a related state lawsuit that she filed in Delaware.

Staggering allegations

The high-stakes battle burst into public view in late March, when Grossberg filed the explosive lawsuits against her former employer in New York and Delaware. Within days, she was fired.

Grossberg accused Fox News lawyers of coercing her into giving false testimony in the Dominion case, by giving answers in her deposition that protected the company and its top figures. The allegations sent shockwaves through the Dominion case, weakening Fox’s position on the brink of trial and introducing new evidence of potential wrongdoing by the network and its on-air personalities.

Grossberg was a senior producer during the 2020 campaign for Maria Bartiromo, who repeatedly used her show to peddle false claims that the presidential election was stolen. After the election, Grossberg moved to Carlson’s flagship program, “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” the network’s top-rated show at the time.

Audiotapes that she recorded while working for Bartiromo — including the host’s off-air conversations with influential Trump officials — became public amid her legal battle. Her attorney previously said Justice Department special counsel Jack Smith was interested in obtaining Grossberg’s roughly 90 tapes for his investigation into Trump’s attempts to overturn the election.

In addition to the Dominion saga, Grossberg claimed that she suffered through a treacherous onslaught of workplace sexism and rampant misogyny. She revealed in a TV interview that the harassment was so severe that she thought about killing herself while working at Fox News.

The toxic environment worsened after Grossberg joined Carlson’s show, she said. According to the lawsuits, Grossberg witnessed flagrant use of the C-word, male colleagues openly debating which female politicians were “more f–kable,” and was asked uncomfortable sexual questions.

Fox News aggressively rebutted these claims while Grossberg’s lawsuits were pending.

The right-wing network fired Carlson in April and cancelled his program, amid the Dominion fallout. Jesse Watters, a similarly styled right-wing provocateur, is set to take over the 8 p.m. hour next month.

“It has been the honor of my career to serve as Abby’s attorney over the past year,” her attorney Gerry Filippatos said in a statement on Friday afternoon. “A more courageous and honest person, skilled and devoted journalist, and fierce advocate for justice I have never met.”

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