Britt McHenry , a host on Fox News' streaming service, Fox Nation, filed a sexual harassment lawsuit on Tuesday against the network and one of its on-air personalities, George "Tyrus" Murdoch.
The lawsuit, filed in the Southern District of New York, argued that Fox News retaliated against McHenry after she accused Murdoch, her former Fox Nation co-host and a network contributor, of sexual harassment. It further contended that the probes conducted by outside law firms on behalf of the network were "sham investigations."
"The last thing I wanted to do was file this lawsuit," McHenry said in a statement provided by attorney Lisa Bloom's law firm, which represents her. "But I had to stand up for what's right for myself and for women."
In separate statements, Fox News defended its actions and Murdoch denied the allegations.
McHenry's lawsuit, which seeks monetary damages, alleged that Murdoch displayed "volatile and unpredictable behavior" at work and started sending her sexually suggestive text messages in October 2018.
"I love pony tails and braids you look amazing and it's a real turn on not that you care but I love it," one of the text messages said, according to the lawsuit.
"The picture looks so good I would knock up the picture .... crazy sexy love your legs," said another, according to the lawsuit.
McHenry alleged in the lawsuit that Murdoch also sexually harassed her in person. The lawsuit said McHenry "never crossed the line or sent Mr. Murdoch any sexual messages."
The lawsuit contended Fox News retaliated against McHenry after she reported Murdoch's conduct. McHenry not only reported Murdoch's conduct to Fox News, but in October she filed a complaint with the New York State Division of Human Rights.
Following her complaints, the lawsuit said that McHenry, who continues to host the Fox Nation show "UN-PC," has "received far fewer professional opportunities" from the network, including rarely being invited to appear on-air and not receiving much marketing for her show.
McHenry attacked the credibility of the two outside investigations. She alleged that photographs obtained during one of the probes "purported to be from" her to Murdoch "with her cleavage and nearly bare breast shown." But, McHenry stated in her lawsuit, the photos were "fraudulent" and "doctored."
"A simple Google Image search shows that the first image was taken from a website and the woman depicted was not Ms. McHenry," the lawsuit said.
McHenry's lawsuit said she "immediately offered to have a forensic expert examine her phone to provide she did not send those messages, provided Mr. Murdoch do the same." But, according to the lawsuit, Murdoch "has refused to submit to a forensic examination of his phone."
Fox News has previously pointed to the two outside investigations and said it followed the recommendations it received. The network ultimately separated the two, giving Murdoch his own Fox Nation show and McHenry a new co-host. Murdoch has continued to appear on Fox News.
In a Tuesday statement, a Fox News spokesperson said McHenry's lawsuit "recycles the same allegations filed with the New York State Division of Human Rights in October, to which we filed a response on Friday."
"As we have previously stated, Ms. McHenry's allegations have been fully investigated and we are confident our actions will be deemed entirely appropriate in litigation," the spokesperson said. "We expect all of her claims to be dismissed."
Murdoch's lawyer, Tom Clare, said in a statement that his client "denies the allegations in the lawsuit and will be defending it vigorously."
"He looks forward to having a public forum in the court system to clear his name from the smear campaign that had been waged against him in the media," Clare said. "Tyrus will be pursuing defamation counterclaims."