Fox News host Eric Bolling has initiated a lawsuit against the reporter behind the report that led to his suspension.
Yashar Ali, a contributing writer for HuffPost, reported on Friday that several years ago Bolling sent lewd text messages that included photographs of male genitalia to two female colleagues at Fox. The next day Bolling was suspended and Fox launched an investigation by the same law firm that handled probes into the conduct of former host Bill O’Reilly and former Fox chairman Roger Ailes.
After the initial report, Bolling said, via his lawyer, that he "recalls no such inappropriate communications, does not believe he sent any such communications, and will vigorously pursue his legal remedies for any false and defamatory accusations that are made.”
On Wednesday, Bolling filed a "summons with notice" in New York State Supreme Court against Ali, seeking $50 million in damages for defamation. Ali must respond within 20 days, demanding that Bolling file a complaint, after which Bolling will have 20 days to file his response before the suit goes forward.
"The nature of this action is for damages and injunctive relief based on defamation arising from the defendant’s efforts to injure the plaintiff’s reputation through the intentional and/or highly reckless publication of actionable false and misleading statements about the plaintiff’s conduct and character. As a result of the defendant’s actions, the plaintiff has been substantially harmed," the summons states.
Bolling is represented by Michael Bowe from the same law firm as Marc Kasowitz, who was President Donald Trump’s personal attorney until last month.
"This anonymously sourced and uncorroborated story is false, defamatory, and obviously intended to destroy this good man’s career and family. We will defend Eric aggressively in court, where actual facts, based on evidence, testimony, and cross-examination, will belie these anonymous accusations," Bowe said.
Ali told POLITICO he plans to fight the case.
“I stand by my reporting and will protect my sources, especially the victims, at all costs," Ali said in a statement.
Fox News and HuffPost did not immediately respond to requests seeking comment.