Yashar Ali, whose bombshell reporting about Eric Bolling’s dick pics led to his suspension from Fox, is being sued by Bolling for defamation. And Bolling has engaged Donald Trump's law firm for the job.
As Ali notes, it’s telling that Bolling went after Ali personally, rather than HuffPost, who published the story. In other words, it’s clearly an effort to punish Ali and subject him to a potentially ruinous suit.
But will Bolling prevail? Ali said his reporting was based on 14 sources whose identities he has promised to keep confidential. But even so, that suggests that Bolling’s behavior was widely known at Fox. The recent comments by a former regular guest on Fox, Caroline Heldman, reinforce that picture.
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 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.
Meanwhile, Ali seems undeterred, unintimidated and unbowed:
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
It's important to note that Bolling's summons does not include HuffPost - he is coming after me personally. I'm a big boy...but very telling https://t.co/nvludsIV87— Yashar Ali (@yashar) August 9, 2017
Not going to stop reporting on Eric Bolling or anyone else. I've had family members killed/jailed in Iran, a lawsuit isn't going to scare me https://t.co/nvludsIV87— Yashar Ali (@yashar) August 9, 2017
By the way, if the name "Kasowitz" on the complaint sounds familiar, that's probably because he's Donald Trump's personal attorney. You know, the same lawyer who melted down and cursed and threatened a man after he dared to tell Kasowitz to resign from representing Trump.
It's such a small world that encompasses Trump and Fox News!
(Bolling image via screen grab.)
For those who are unfamiliar, a SLAPP suit is a Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation. This is how big companies and rich individuals used to handle lower income people who would inconvenience them with protests and sit-ins. (Such as protestors standing outside the Rand Corporation) The big-money company would file a massive and frivolous lawsuit against the individual leading the protest, knowing that this person would almost certainly run away in order to avoid the massive legal costs of defending themselves in court. This is clearly Bolling’s intention here – to intimidate Ali from speaking the truth about Bolling’s shameful conduct.
But Bolling is apparently unaware that we have anti-SLAPP laws on the books in many states, I believe including New York. These laws are designed to protect the 1st Amendment rights of writers like Ali. Anti-SLAPP laws state that a SLAPP suit can be countered directly, and that if the initial litigator can be shown to have attempted to infringe on the defendant’s 1st Amendment rights, the initial litigator can be held accountable for massive damages, not including being compelled to pay all the legal fees (including attorney’s fees) incurred by the defendant.
In simple English, this means that Ali should immediately countersue Bolling, using anti-SLAPP laws as his basis and noting that his reportage is factual and that we already have actual witnesses corroborating the story he wrote. Ali could easily countersue Bolling for the same nonsensical 50 million dollars Bolling is trying to throw at him, and he can also demand to see Bolling’s correspondence regarding this matter, to show the intent behind the frivolous lawsuit. If Bolling tries to cry attorney-client privilege, he’s as much as admitted his guilt. And if Bolling turns over the correspondence, he admits it directly. Either way, Bolling’s just placed himself in an unwinnable situation that will only get uglier for him as it goes on.
It’s a sad truth that panic and desperation rarely lead to happy outcomes. Bolling’s misstep here is a classic example of that truth.
NOTE TO BOLLING
Your dumb azz would never sue Fox “News” Channel, 21st, or the Murdochs. You know that once you cross that line you will never work for News Corporation/21st Century Fox for the rest of your miserable life, including any of their partners.
You are not worth $50 million dollars. You are not even worth $.50 cents. If you need money that bad the McDonald’s across the street from this horror skyscraper is hiring. We wouldn’t blame your wife if she filed for divorce. She would do herself a favor.
And why not? When you’re being sued for being a sexual-harassing a-hole, retain a firm that has experience defending a sexual-harassing a-hole . . .