A former Fox News producer has changed her testimony in the defamation case against the network, claiming she was forced by company lawyers to give misleading answers.
Abby Grossberg was fired by Fox News on Friday, days after filing her lawsuit in New York and Delaware alleging discrimination based on gender, religion and disability.
Her lawsuit alleges she was bullied and subjected to sexist and anti-Semitic comments while working as a bookings manager for the Fox News show Tucker Carlson Tonight.
An amended lawsuit was filed Monday, changing a number of answers she gave in last year’s testimony.
Grossberg was promoted to the role of head of booking on Tucker Carlson Tonight last year after working as senior booking producer on Maria Bartiromo’s weekly show, Sunday Morning Futures. Bartiromo’s program features prominently in Dominion Voting Systems’ defamation lawsuit against Fox News.
Dominion is seeking $1.6 billion in damages, alleging Fox News intentionally aired former President Trump’s false claims of voter fraud during the 2020 election to appease its viewers, who were angry at how the state was doing Arizona named for President Biden, fled the network.
Fox News guests made false claims about ownership of Dominion and said its machines were used to rig votes in favor of President Biden. Fox News has claimed that the allegations are newsworthy and that its reporting is protected under the First Amendment.
A Fox News representative said in a statement that Grossberg was fired last week for disclosing privileged company information in her lawsuit.
“Last week, our attorneys advised Ms. Grossberg that while she could assert all legal rights, she was in possession of our privileged information and was not authorized to make it public,” the representative said. “We knew Fox would take appropriate action, including termination, if she disobeyed our instructions. Ms. Grossberg ignored these communications and chose to file her complaint without taking any steps to protect the portions containing Fox’s privileged information.”
The statement reiterated the company’s claim that Grossberg’s allegation was “riddled with false allegations against Fox and our employees.”
Grossberg said Fox News lawyers manipulated her testimony to create the false narrative that “nothing falls through the cracks” at Fox News and “misrepresents her as an incompetent journalist who ignores relevant warnings from Dominion.” and disregarded the truth”.
She also said she was told to downplay the importance of ratings at Fox News, even though she knew Bartiromo was “obsessed” with them.
Grossberg’s amended complaint alleges she was forced by attorneys not to discuss her workload on the program, which gave Trump attorneys Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell free reign to make false allegations of voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election.
Grossberg said Fox News lawyers instructed her in prep sessions to “downplay how overworked and understaffed she was, as well as diminish her actual position on the network.”
The amended lawsuit states that Grossberg’s testimony, “as produced by Fox News,” placed her and Bartiromo “right on the front lines of the Dominion/Fox lawsuit so they could be scapegoated as female sacrificial lambs.”
Grossberg’s lawsuit included corrections to her testimony, which now details how her workload affected her ability to screen guests and verify information presented on Sunday Morning Futures.
In her affidavit last year, Grossberg was asked if she felt obligated to correct misinformation given by guests on Sunday Morning Futures. She said no.
Grossberg’s file changed her response as follows: “Yes, because (‘Sunday Morning Futures’) was an interview show, Maria tried to get to the bottom of the stories through conversation, and although our guests had the right to respond as they wished If so, it was Maria’s job to counter false statements with facts or follow-up questions, which I always prepared for her.”
Grossberg also changed an answer to a question about whether she and Bartiromo were “open and honest with each other” about working together.
“I’ve tried to be open and honest with her, but don’t think that Maria Bartiromo has always been open and honest with me,” Grossberg said in her revised statement.
Another change she made was when asked if she trusted the producers she worked with at Fox News.
Grossberg replaced her “yes” answer with “No, I don’t trust all the producers at Fox…they are activists, not journalists, and are forcing their political agendas on the program.”
Grossberg said her previous responses “were based on what I understood and which were taken away from the testimony preparation sessions I had with the Fox legal team, which were coercive and intimidating.”
“I felt that I had to do everything I could to avoid becoming Dominion’s ‘star witness’ or I would be seriously jeopardizing my career at Fox News and being exposed to worse working conditions than those offered to male employees,” she said .
https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/business/story/2023-03-27/fired-fox-news-producer-said-she-was-coached-by-network-lawyers-on-defamation-case-testimony Fired Fox News producer said she was coerced to give misleading testimony