With star players ousted and lawsuits battering Fox News, now a new senior programming team will attempt to reshape the network. Nathan Rousseau Smith (@fantasticmrnate) explains. Buzz60
Fox News host Eric Bolling is threatening a lawsuit against the reporter who wrote a story accusing him of sending an unsolicited photo of male genitalia to at least three female co-workers years ago via text message.
Bolling was suspended Saturday after The Huffington Post story reported that two female colleagues at Fox Business and one at Fox News received the lewd message from Bolling. Contributing writer Yashar Ali wrote that the HuffPost spoke to 14 anonymous sources for the story.
The women, current and former colleagues of Bolling’s, said they knew the message — sent on separate occasions, years ago — came from Bolling because they recognized his phone number from previous work and informal contacts.
In the summons filed Wednesday by Bolling, he charges Ali with injuring his reputation “through the intentional and/or highly reckless publication of actionable false and misleading statements about the plaintiff’s conduct and character.”
Bolling seeks damages of not less than $50 million in the summons, which Ali has 20 days to respond to.
On Twitter, Ali said Wednesday that he got the summons and “I stand by my reporting (and) will protect my sources.”
He followed that with another tweet pointing out that the suit does not name the HuffPost. “Very telling,” he tweeted.
HuffPost Editor in Chief Lydia Polgreen also tweeted Wednesday: “Yashar Ali is a paid freelancer under contract with HuffPost. We have no hesitation about standing by him financially in this case.”
Then, Thursday morning Ali retweeted the link to a story from legal news site LawNewz.com entitled, “Eric Bolling’s $50 Million Lawsuit is a Total PR Stunt, and He Seems to Know It.”
For his part, Bolling tweeted on Monday that he was “overwhelmed by all the support I have received,” and “I look forward to clearing my name asap.”
The host of Fox News’ Specialists and Cashin’ In shows followed that Wednesday with another post that he “will continue to fight against these false smear attacks!”
In Ali’s original HuffPost story, Bolling’s attorney Michael Bowe commented, “Mr. Bolling recalls no such inappropriate communications, does not believe he sent any such communications, and will vigorously pursue his legal remedies for any false and defamatory accusations that are made.”
Follow USA TODAY reporter Mike Snider on Twitter: @MikeSnider.