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Fox News producer alleges network "coerced" her into giving misleading testimony in Dominion suit

Emails become public in Fox-Dominion lawsuit
Emails and text messages become public as part of Fox-Dominion lawsuit 09:36

Washington — A Fox News producer who worked for hosts Maria Bartiromo and Tucker Carlson filed a pair of lawsuits against the network Monday, alleging its legal team "coerced" her into giving misleading testimony in the ongoing defamation case brought by Dominion Voting Systems and accusing the company of fostering a "toxic" work environment.

Abby Grossberg, who joined Fox in 2019 as a senior booking producer on Bartiromo's Sunday morning show and eventually became head of booking on Carlson's primetime program, claimed that Fox's lawyers "coerced, intimidated, and misinformed" her while they were preparing her for deposition testimony in the $1.6 billion lawsuit filed by Dominion against Fox News.

Before joining the network, Grossberg worked for several other news outlets, including CBS News. 

In one complaint filed in federal district court in New York, Grossberg alleges that Fox's legal team indicated she should respond with a generic "I do not recall" to as many questions as possible during a September 2022 deposition, which she claimed was an effort to shift responsibility for the alleged defamation against Dominion onto her and Bartiromo "rather than the mostly male higher ups at Fox News who endorsed the repeated coverage of the lies against the Dominion."

Dominion has accused Fox News executives and its hosts of knowingly airing false claims about the company after the 2020 presidential election in an effort to boost its ratings. Revelations from Dominion's ongoing dispute with Fox News and the claims in Grossberg's lawsuits further have shed light on what was taking place behind the scenes after the presidential contest and the atmosphere surrounding the network's most popular hosts.

In response to Grossberg's lawsuit, a Fox News spokesperson said the network "engaged an independent outside counsel to immediately investigate the concerns raised by Ms. Grossberg, which were made following a critical performance review. Her allegations in connection with the Dominion case are baseless and we will vigorously defend Fox against all of her claims."

Grossberg's attorney, Gerry Filippatos, said the network placed her on forced administrative leave after she informed them of the forthcoming lawsuits. Fox has also filed a request for a temporary restraining order in New York state court in an attempt to keep Grossberg from disclosing privileged conversations with its attorneys.

"Ms. Grossberg has threatened to disclose Fox's attorney-client privileged information and we filed a temporary restraining order to protect our rights," the network's spokesperson said.

Grossberg filed a second complaint in superior court in Delaware, in which she claims Fox attorneys acted at the behest of the network to "misleadingly 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."

Her filing came on the eve of a hearing in Dominion's defamation case against Fox, which is set to go to trial next month.

"Ms. Grossberg was isolated, overworked, undervalued, denied opportunities for promotion, and generally treated significantly worse than her male counterparts, even when those men were less qualified than her," the lawsuit in federal court alleges. 

Grossberg claims that while working on Carlson's show, she endured an environment that "subjugates women based on vile sexist stereotypes, typecasts religious minorities and belittles their traditions, and demonstrates little to no regard for those suffering from mental illness."

With regards to her testimony in the Dominion case, Grossberg claims that Fox News attorneys were "displeased" that she was being "too candid and forthcoming" during preparation sessions, and she was under the impression that she should downplay the importance of ratings to the network.

Grossberg alleged that Bartiromo's show was understaffed and lacked resources, which left her struggling to keep up with email warnings Dominion sent to Fox News about its post-election coverage. She also claimed that Fox Business Network's vice president of news coverage, Ralph Giordano, said Dominion's lawsuit was the result of Grossberg's "inability to manage a diva," a reference to Bartiromo. 

In addition to the allegations related to Fox News' legal fight with Dominion, Grossberg's complaints also detail what she said is a "misogynistic environment that permeates Fox News and fosters a toxic workplace where truth remains a fugitive while female workers are verbally violated on almost a daily basis by a poisonous and entrenched patriarchy."

While working on Bartiromo's show, Grossberg claimed male colleagues called Bartiromo a "crazy b***h," "menopausal," "hysterical" and a "diva," and alleged she was passed over for more senior positions because of her gender. 

Grossberg eventually moved on from Bartiromo's show and began working in September 2022 as head of booking for Carlson's primetime program, "Tucker Carlson Tonight." On her first full day on Carlson's team, Grossberg said enlarged photographs of the-Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi wearing a "plunging bathing suit revealing her cleavage" were plastered to her computer and throughout the office, according to her lawsuit.

She also recalled being asked by Justin Wells, a top producer for Carlson, whether House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy was having sexual relations with Bartiromo. Grossberg alleged in her suit that during one discussion in the newsroom, Carlson's staff debated whether they would prefer to have sex Tudor Dixon, a Republican running for governor of Michigan, or Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Dixon's Democratic opponent. The discussion allegedly took place around mid-October 2022, before Dixon was scheduled to appear on Carlson's show and discuss her gubernatorial campaign, according to Grossberg's filing.

In addition to disparaging comments about women, including calling them a vulgar name, Grossberg also claims members of Carlson's staff made negative comments about Jewish people. After she voiced complaints to human resources about what Grossberg said was hostility and sexism from two of Carlson's top producers, she was warned that "immediate improvement" would be required to fulfill the standards of her job.

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