news 7 months ago

Laura Luhn To Appeal Judge’s Dismissal Of Fox News Defamation Lawsuit

Deadline — Ted Johnson

Laura Luhn plans to appeal a federal judge’s dismissal of her defamation lawsuit against Fox News and its CEO, Suzanne Scott.

Luhn, an ex-employee of the news network, had challenged statements that Scott had made in an April 3 profile in which she denied knowledge of her predecessor Roger Ailes’ acts of sexual harassment. She also said that she “had no clue on what was going on” in Ailes’ office, and “never had any issues with any sort of harassment” herself.

Luhn alleged that Scott’s statements “created the false and misleading implication” that she fabricated her own allegations of sexual abuse against Ailes and of a cover up against Scott.

Luhn said that after starting work for Fox News in 1996, she “spent the next decade and a half enduring extensive and traumatic sexual abuse” at the hands of Ailes, U.S. District Judge Dabney Friedrich noted.

But Friedrich wrote that Scott’s statements “pertained exclusively to Scott and her own mental state, specifically, her unawareness of Ailes’ sexual harassment of female subordinates.”

“The fact that Luhn subsequently contested the accuracy of Scott’s statements—or even the fact that Luhn purportedly made contradictory statements prior to publication of the article—does not transform Scott’s limited statements about her own ignorance into statements about Luhn,” Friedrich wrote.

The judge also rejected claims of false light invasion of privacy and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

“Scott’s denial of her knowledge of Ailes’s misconduct bears no resemblance to the conduct alleged in cases where courts have previously recognized intentional infliction of emotional distress claims,” the judge wrote.

Luhn contacted the U.S. Attorney General in 2011 to report her allegations against Ailes, but later reached a settlement with Fox News. She claims that she was “pressured, coerced and fraudulently induced” into agreeing to the settlement.

Ailes was ousted from Fox News in 2016, and died in 2017. Scott became CEO of the network in 2018.

Luhn’s attorney filed a notice of appeal on Friday.


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