Fox Judicial analyst Andrew Napolitano has been fired from Fox in the wake of sexual harassment accusations from Fox Business Network employee John Fawcett. But his complaint is filled with many sensational details about others, including accusations of racist and sexist remarks from FBN host Larry Kudlow, such as his supposed desire to have a "three way" with Sandra Smith.
The complaint has some very sloppy mistakes, including misidentifying Fox Business Network as Fox Business Channel and misspelling Lou Dobbs’ name. But if Fawcett’s allegations are true, they reveal shocking but not surprising details about the toxic work environment at Fox. Whether he has a good legal case is another matter.
The complaint begins with these two paragraphs (emphases have been added by me in all cases):
Suzanne Scott, the CEO of Defendant Fox News Network, LLC (hereinafter “Fox. News” or “Fox. likes to boast about implementing a “zero tolerance policy” for sexual misconduct at Fox News. That “zero tolerance policy” is a fraud. As explained in this complaint, sexual harassment, sex discrimination, and racial discrimination are still tolerated at Fox, and Ms. Scott and her executive team will bend over backwards to protect such behavior so long as it is perpetrated by senior management or prominent on-air personalities.
One of Fox’s foremost contributors, Judge Andrew Napolitano, has sexually harassed numerous young male employees during his tenure at Fox News, and Plaintiff John Fawcett, age 27, is one of those young men. Judge Napolitano’s misconduct was reported to Fox's human resources department by the Plaintiff and others. and senior executives were aware of Judge Napolitano’s serial harassment, but Fox took no action whatsoever against Judge Napolitano. Instead, Fox allowed him to appear on-air regularly.
According to the complaint, Fawcett was hired to work on the Lou Dobbs Tonight show but was transferred to the Kudlow show after Dobbs was fired, in February.
This is what Fawcett alleges about Napolitano:
In late September or early October of , the Plaintiff encountered Judge Napolitano on an elevator at Fox News headquarters in Manhattan. Even though the two had never met previously, Judge Napolitano stood awkwardly close to the Plaintiff, started stroking his arm, and asked who the Plaintiff worked for. The Plaintiff said he worked for Loud [sic] Dobbs, and Judge Napolitano asked if the Plaintiff was looking for a new job. Judge Napolitano noted that Mr. Dobbs had a horse farm in New Jersey, and Judge Napolitano said he had a maple syrup farm in New Jersey. “You see these hands?" Judge Napolitano asked while looking at the Plaintiff suggestively. “They look clean, but they get really dirty.” He then told the Plaintiff to visit his farm if the Plaintiff was ever in New Jersey farm or, if not, the Plaintiff could visit his Manhattan apartment during the week. Shortly thereafter, the elevator reached the floor where the Plaintiff worked, and the Plaintiff politely excused himself before exiting the elevator.
When the Plaintiff reached his office and told his co-workers about the encounter, they immediately started laughing. It was common knowledge that Judge Napolitano sexually harassed young men at Fox News, and it had even happened to one of the Plaintiff's co-workers.
Fawcett claims he did not want to report the incident, for fear of jeopardizing his career but that Dobbs called Executive Vice President Kevin Lord, also the chief human resources officer, at Fox Corp., Fox News’ parent company. In a subsequent meeting with Fawcett, Lord allegedly was dismissive, saying, “Well, what do you want us to do about it?” and Fox never initiated any investigation.
Fawcett further alleges that Fox News President Jay Wallace had an affair with a female subordinate named Brooke Singman. “She regularly had romantic phone conversations with Mr. Wallace while she was in a bathroom stall in the women's restroom, and numerous female employees overheard their conversations,” the complaint states. After what the complaint describes as a sham investigation that cleared Wallace of any wrongdoing, Singman was transferred to FoxNews.com where she edged out a more senior investigative reporter, who was eventually “forced out” of Fox altogether. The complaint notes that Singman had no writing experience and no investigative journalism experience.
That might explain her jaw-droppingly awful “article,” even by Fox standards, about a Trump/Biden debate last fall that seemed to have been transcribed from an RNC press release.
“Much to the chagrin of her editors, Ms. Singman was allowed to take over a beat covering intelligence and national security issues, as well as high-level political corruption, despite her complete lack of qualifications,” the complaint alleges.
Fawcett’s lawyer, who also represents Ed Henry in a lawsuit against Fox, digresses into gratuitously attacking The Daily Beast’s Diana Falzone, who settled her own gender discrimination case against Fox, suggesting that she’s keeping quiet about the Wallace/Singman affair for the sake of settlement money. I don’t know all the facts, obviously, but this seems like a cheap shot that is pretty far afield from Fawcett’s case and, frankly, I’m not sure what it has to do with Henry other than the fact that she has written about the allegations against him. But Fawcett's lawyer, Ty Clevenger (more on him later) says he intends to circumvent the nondisclosure agreements she and Gretchen Carlson signed by subpoenaing them.
Sadly, I suspect this suit will be settled long before Falzone or Carlson have the chance to tell their stories.
Finally, in Paragraph 24, the complaint details the Kudlow allegations:
In early April of 2021, during a phone conference with staff, Mr. Kudlow said he would like to have “a three-way” (i... a three-way sexual encounter) with Sandra Smith, an anchor at Fox News. Gary Schreier, the senior vice president of programming for Fox Business. participated in the phone conference. He awkwardly laughed about Mr. Kudlow’s comment, but he did not reprimand Mr. Kudlow or indicate that the comment was inappropriate.
Shortly thereafter, during an April 18, 2021 phone conference with staff about a scheduled appearance by Congresswoman Maria Elvira Salazar to discuss immigration, Mr. Kudlow asked. “Why don’t we just let the Mexicans in?” He then said that “we” need more “jalapeno pickers.” Mr. Schreier participated in the teleconference and said nothing about Mr. Kudlow’s comment.
During an April 29, 2021 phone conference with staff to discuss a scheduled appearance by Congressman Byron Donalds. Mr. Kudlow said, “No, no, no. I don’t want the black on the show.” Company records show that Congressman Donalds’s appearance was cancelled that day. Mr. Schreier participated in the phone conference, but he did not reprimand Mr. Kudlow. nor did he prevent Mr. Kudlow from cancelling the Congressman’s scheduled appearance. Instead, Mr. Schreier told staff, “Whatever happens on this phone call stays on this phone call.”
0n May 19, 2021, Mr. Kudlow made sexually-suggestive comments about Fox Business reporter Susan Li during a teleconference: “She's got a nice way about her. I enjoy seeing her on set. I'm not sure she knows anything, but could help her out with the rest.” Mr. Kudlow grunted after the last comment, and all of the staff understood Mr. Kudlow’s comment to be sexually suggestive. Mr. Schreier participated in the phone call, but he did not correct or reprimand Mr. Kudlow in any way.
The complaint continues by accusing Kudlow's female executive producer and the female senior producer of gender discrimination against Fawcett, including baselessly writing him up for poor performance.
Law and Crime quotes from a Fox News statement:
“Upon first learning of John Fawcett’s allegations against Judge Andrew Napolitano, FOX News Media immediately investigated the claims and addressed the matter with both parties,” the statement read. “The network and Judge Napolitano have since parted ways
Fawcett’s lawyer has what I would consider some serious professional flaws if I were looking to engage an attorney. Mediaite explains:
Clevenger is a colorful figure — he told a Dallas Morning News reporter that his shrink says he has a “Batman complex” — and his name has appeared in disciplinary proceedings that resulted in the temporary suspension of his license to practice law in at least three different jurisdictions (Texas, the District of Columbia, and California). The disciplinary claims against Clevenger included initiating frivolous litigation, seriously interfering with the administration of justice, wrongfully delaying proceedings, and taking a position that unreasonably increased the costs or other burdens in a case or delayed resolution of a matter.
Whatever the legal merits or lack thereof in this case, we can all enjoy some popcorn learning about it.
You can read the full complaint here:
(Napolitano image via screen grab)