Sus­pended Fox host sues re­porter

Los Angeles Times - - BUSINESS BEAT - As­so­ci­ated press

NEW YORK — Sus­pended Fox News host Eric Bolling is su­ing the re­porter who broke the story about al­le­ga­tions that he had sent lewd text mes­sages to col­leagues.

Bolling filed a $50-mil­lion defama­tion law­suit Wed­nes­day in state Supreme Court in Man­hat­tan against Yashar Ali, a Huff­in­g­ton Post con­tribut­ing writer. The ca­ble news host said Ali dam­aged his rep­u­ta­tion through what the court pa­pers call the “highly reck­less pub­li­ca­tion of ac­tion­able false and mis­lead­ing state­ments about the plain­tiff ’s con­duct and char­ac­ter.”

Bolling was sus­pended over the weekend pend­ing an in­ter­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion that a Fox spokesper­son said is un­der­way.

Ali wrote last week that Bolling is ac­cused of send­ing un­so­licited pho­tos of male gen­i­talia to co-work­ers over sev­eral years.

On Wed­nes­day, the re­porter tweeted that he stands by his story and will pro­tect his sources. Ali also wrote that he is not go­ing to stop re­port­ing on Bolling “or any­one else. I’ve had fam­ily mem­bers killed/jailed in Iran, a law­suit isn’t go­ing to scare me.”

Huff­in­g­ton Post Editor in Chief Ly­dia Pol­green, a former top New York Times editor, tweeted in sup­port of Ali on Tues­day night. “Yashar Ali is a care­ful and metic­u­lous re­porter,” Pol­green wrote, adding that the pub­li­ca­tion stands by his re­port­ing and that it has “no hes­i­ta­tion about stand­ing by him fi­nan­cially in this case.” Huff­in­g­ton Post is owned by Ver­i­zon thanks to its 2015 pur­chase of AOL.

Bolling’s lawyer, Michael J. Bowe, said in a state­ment: “This anony­mously sourced and un­cor­rob­o­rated story is false, defam­a­tory, and ob­vi­ously in­tended to de­stroy this good man’s ca­reer and fam­ily. We will de­fend Eric ag­gres­sively in court, where ac­tual facts, based on ev­i­dence, tes­ti­mony, and cross-ex­am­i­na­tion, will be­lie these anony­mous ac­cu­sa­tions.”

Bolling tweeted that he “will con­tinue to fight against these false smear at­tacks!”

Huff­in­g­ton Post is not in­volved in the le­gal ac­tion.

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