Fox Nation commentator Britt McHenry can sue both her former co-host George “Tyrus” Murdoch for his ” unusually crude and clumsy” alleged campaign of sexual harassment and Watters’ World executive producer Jennifer Rauchet for retaliating against her for complaining about it, a federal judge ruled on Friday.
McHenry’s allegations against Fox Corporation have been dismissed, and Fox News has not yet filed a motion to dismiss. Her attorney Arick Fudali, from the Bloom Firm, applauded the court for finding Tyrus’s claims “wrong” and “incorrect.”
“This is a victory for Ms. McHenry and a milestone in her pursuit of justice. We look forward to now having the opportunity to prove our claims of sexual harassment and retaliation against Fox News, Mr. Murdoch, and Ms. Rauchet in court,” Fudali told Law&Crime in an email.
Fox News, which remains a defendant, said it is “pleased” with the dismissal of all counts against Fox Corporation, its human resources staffer Monica Mekeel, and vice president John Finley.
“Once the facts of the case have been presented, we are confident FOX News and Rauchet will prevail on McHenry’s remaining claims, which are equally without merit,” the network said in a statement.
A little more than a year ago, McHenry filed a federal lawsuit accusing Tyrus, an ex-professional wrestler, of sexual harassment. Both currently host shows on Fox Nation, the streaming service spin-off of the network. McHenry’s is titled Un-PC, and Tyrus’s is Nuff Said. McHenry and Tyrus formerly co-hosted Un-PC between Sep. 2018 and April 2019.
McHenry claims that Tyrus began “making sexual advances to Ms. McHenry and making sexually harassing comments to her” and “sending her inappropriate text messages” without her consent.
“I love your legs,” Tyrus allegedly texted McHenry on Nov. 2, 2018.
Other messages quoted in McHenry’s complaint show Tyrus writing her: “Fuck them your beautiful I love that picture”; “FYI you’ll need those legs to escape from me in Montana”; “I please especially on your knees hotness”; and asking “Is it creepy how I look at you ???”
On Nov. 5, 2018, Tyrus texted McHenry: “Dick pic coming in 5 sec!!!!”
Tyrus claims that messages like these were not sexual advances or propositions, an assertion that U.S. District Judge Paul Engelmayer rejected.
“His communications, as pled, are readily construed to reflect sexual advances and propositions, albeit unusually crude and clumsy ones, towards her,” Engelmayer wrote in a 48-page ruling.
Tyrus’s attorney Thomas Clare, from the Virginia-based firm Clare Locke, did not immediately respond to an email requesting comment.
Before complaining about Tyrus to Rauchet, McHenry was a regular on Fox News’s Watters’ World, but McHenry claims those appearances dried up entirely after airing those issues.
“Viewed in light of the allegations that Rauchet has ceased speaking to McHenry and that she told McHenry that Fox News ‘never wanted her’ and could replace her, the inference is reasonable that Rauchet, as executive producer of both Un-PC and Watters’ World, participated in the decisions to cease booking McHenry on the show, and did so in retaliation for McHenry’s complaints about workplace misconduct,” Engelmayer found.
The judge rejected claims that Rauchet aided and abetted sexual harassment, sending the remainder of the allegations he did not dismiss to the discovery phase.
Read the 48-page ruling below:
[Image via Fox 5/YouTube screengrab]
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