Ex-Fox News Producer Says She Was 'Coerced' into Being 'Company Scapegoat': 'They Destroy People'
Journalist Abby Grossberg found herself the subject of headlines amid an ongoing lawsuit filed by voting equipment company Dominion Voting Systems against Fox News
Abby Grossberg, a former producer for Fox News who is now suing the network, says she was put "in a very vulnerable position to be the company scapegoat" amid a lawsuit centering on false claims about the 2020 presidential election.
Grossberg found herself the subject of headlines amid an ongoing lawsuit filed by voting equipment company Dominion Voting Systems against Fox News.
Dominion was the target of conspiracy theories claiming widespread election fraud and other wrongdoing in the wake of the November 2020 presidential election, and the company eventually sued several of Trump's closest allies, including Fox News, for allegedly repeating lies about its machines.
Related:Dominion Sues Fox News for $1.6B Over Election Coverage, Calling Out Hannity & More: 'Devastating Lies'
Grossberg was questioned as part of Dominion's suit, and under oath said that she did not believe it was her responsibility to fact-check the claims made by Fox News personalities on-air.
Speaking to NBC News' Cynthia McFadden in her first television interview this week, Grossberg alleges she was "bullied, intimidated and coerced into saying that [under oath] just to keep my job and stay at the company."
She continued in the interview: "And the question a lot of people would have is, 'Why would you do that?' I made the decision to keep my job so that I can keep paying my bills. It seemed like the safer decision for me at the time."
Grossberg was fired by the network just last week, after she filed her own lawsuit alleging she experienced harassment and discrimination, and that Fox News lawyers "coerced, intimidated, and misinformed" her as they prepared her to testify in Dominion's defamation suit. (In an amended complaint, she alleges her firing was in retaliation for her suit, though the network alleged she had disclosed privileged information in her legal claims.)
"The assertion that Ms. Grossberg was coached or intimidated into being dishonest during her Dominion deposition is patently false," Fox responded in a statement. "We will continue to vigorously defend Fox against her unmeritorious legal claims, which are riddled with false allegations against the network and our employees."
Fox News further defended itself against Grossberg's claims with the following explanation: "Like most organizations, FOX News Media's attorneys engage in privileged communications with our employees as necessary to provide legal advice. Our attorneys advised Ms. Grossberg that, while she was free to file whatever legal claims she wished, she was in possession of our privileged information and was not authorized to disclose it publicly. We were clear that if she violated our instructions, Fox would take appropriate action including termination. Ms. Grossberg ignored these communications and chose to file her complaint without taking any steps to protect those portions containing Fox's privileged information.""
Related:In Testimony, Sean Hannity Said He Did Not Believe 'for One Second' the 2020 Election Was Fraudulent
Legal filings have demonstrated that even some of the network's most publicly opinionated personalities publicly doubted that the 2020 election was rigged, all while the network offered a platform to Trump loyalists who amplified the false claims.
Messages made public in the filing show that even Fox Chairman Rupert Murdoch expressed disbelief in Trump's election fraud claims, which he called "really crazy stuff," writing in an email to Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott that the claims were "damaging everybody, I fear."
Scott, in a reply, wrote: "Yes Sean [Hannity] and even [Jeanine] Pirro agrees."
Speaking to NBC, Grossberg claimed that the environment at Fox grew to be so toxic that she called a crisis hotline one night, after thinking about stepping in front of a moving car.
"And I wouldn't have to go to work tomorrow," Grossberg said. "That crossed my mind. It definitely did. I really had no hope in those moments."
Grossberg's full interview is set to air Thursday on NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt.
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