In a new statement, Fox News revealed that it conducted a second investigation into the sexual misconduct claims made by Fox Nation host Britt McHenry against colleague Tyrus.
In June, the network said that “this situation was independently investigated and we consider the matter resolved.”
But, in response to a sexual harassment complaint filed by McHenry’s lawyer, Lisa Bloom, with New York State’s Division of Human Rights, Fox News revealed the new investigation.
“As we previously said, this matter was immediately and thoroughly investigated by an outside law firm charged with providing independent factual findings and recommendations for action based on the evidence,” the network said in a statement. “All protocols were followed; the recommendations we received were appropriate and promptly implemented. Since then, we voluntarily engaged a second outside investigator to look at any additional evidence presented, and to review the first investigator’s findings/recommendations in light of any evidence. Again, all protocols were followed and the second set of recommendations fully affirmed the first set.”
The network’s statement continued: “We respect the confidentiality of our employees and their involvement in any HR process and therefore will not comment on the results of either independent investigation. We will, however, defend the administrative charge filed in the New York State Division of Human Rights.”
In an additional statement on Friday, the network said in part: “We recognize Britt’s right to tell her side of the story and will defend in litigation our actions, which have been evidence-based and wholly appropriate.”
McHenry, a former ESPN personality, has alleged that Tyrus, a retired wrestler, sent her sexually suggestive text messages and behaved inappropriately toward her in person.
“As a result of the Respondents’ sexual harassment, discrimination, and retaliation, I have experienced tremendous anxiety, anguish, humiliation, and emotional distress,” McHenry wrote in the complaint. “I have seen a therapist and have experienced stress-induced sickness, such as severe migraines. I have become physically ill repeatedly before going to work at Fox in New York. My professional success and career have suffered immeasurably as a result of Fox’s misconduct.”
Tyrus continues to host his own show called ‘Nuff Said on the Fox News Media streaming service. The two were originally paired as co-hosts of the show UN-PC, which McHenry still hosts.
In the complaint, McHenry accuses Tyrus (real name: George Murdoch), Fox Nation executive producer Jennifer Rauchet, Fox Nation boss John Finley and human resources executive Monica Mekeel of discrimination.
To resolve her complaint, McHenry requests “compensatory damages and an end to the sexual harassment and retaliation.”
When the nature of McHenry’s allegations first surfaced, Fox News said in a statement, “While we are not at liberty to discuss the details of any employee matter, we follow strict protocols when matters such as these are brought to our attention, and we make no exceptions.”
McHenry originally worked with attorney Douglas Wigdor, who has parried legally with Fox News before, but then switched to Bloom.
“Proud to represent Britt McHenry as we litigate her sexual harassment claims against Fox News,” Bloom wrote on Twitter. “Fox’s false public statement omits important facts. We demand that Fox release Britt to respond with the truth.The era of silencing victims must come to an end.”
“Always stay strong,” McHenry tweeted late Thursday night. “When truth is on your side, you can never go wrong.”
Former Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson, who left the network with a $20 million settlement after accusing Roger Ailes of misconduct, took to Twitter to defend McHenry. She wrote: “So so interesting @foxnews – You claim you’ve changed but to use your own words from your statement just last week u are supposedly ‘transformed’ and ‘no other company has implemented such a comprehensive and continuous overhaul.’ Really? Nothing wrong with lewd text messages to an innocent woman where someone offers her d*** pics and you try to say 2 independent investigations found nothing & u are transformed? And you give him his own show?That’s so screwed up and you know it @foxnews.”
McHenry addressed the network’s second investigation in a supplementary filing. “Fox launched another ‘investigation’ after my current counsel complained about the inadequacy of the first investigation,” she wrote. “I was interviewed by the investigator on September 12, 2019. The investigator did not ask me any questions about my retaliation claims. On October 18, 2019, I received a memorandum from the investigator concluding there was no evidence of sexual harassment or retaliation (even though the investigator failed to ask me about retaliation and confirmed that she was not investigating the retaliation claims) and Fox considered the matter closed.”
She also accused Tyrus of giving Fox News text messages “which purport that I sent Tyrus pictures of my breasts.” She said the text messages “are fraudulent, doctored, and did not come from my phone.” One of the images, she said, she was able to locate online by conducting a Google Image search.