A former Fox News reporter has sued the conservative network, accusing it of discrimination and retaliation for firing him after he spoke out against “false coverage” of the 2020 US election and the January 6, 2021 riot at the Capitol, according to the court. application.
Jason Donner, who worked for Fox News as a reporter and producer for 12 years, claimed in the lawsuit that he was targeted after repeatedly raising concerns with his managers about false statements allowed on air. The lawsuit was filed in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia on September 27 and transferred to the US District Court for the District of Columbia on Monday.
Mr. Donner had covered Capitol Hill for Fox News since 2018. He said in the complaint that when the network tried to appease its audience of President Donald J. Trump’s supporters by airing a false narrative about vote fraud in the 2020 presidential election, the work environment became toxic for journalists who tried to “report truthfully.”
According to the case, Mr. Donner inside the Capitol on January 6 as rioters stormed through the doors. He hid with other reporters in news booths when he heard Fox report that the attack was “peaceful,” he said. Mr. Donner called the Fox News control room, he said in the complaint, and told it that tear gas was going on, rioters were storming the building and shots had been reported fired, and that false reports on the news “are going to get us all killed.”
Mr. Donner said he had complained to his bosses about Fox News’ “lack of support” in the wake of the uproar, including host Tucker Carlson’s false claims and daytime conspiracy theories, saying “it was demoralizing that Fox News would allow Carlson to gaslight the country with false information.”
Mr. Donner said he called in sick to work on September 26, 2022, and was fired two days later, with Fox giving him the explanation that he was “late for work and didn’t show up for work.”
Fox News did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Lawyers for Mr. Donner declined to comment. The lawsuit did not specify the amount of damages sought.
Fox is facing an avalanche of lawsuits over the false narratives it aired in its coverage of the 2020 election and the Capitol riot, including from shareholders and Ray Epps, a man it accused of being an undercover government agent at the Capitol.
In April, Fox paid $787.5 million to settle a defamation lawsuit brought by Dominion Voting Systems over the false conspiracy theories it broadcast about voter fraud. A trove of internal corporate communications released in the Dominion case showed that many Fox executives and hosts didn’t believe the voter fraud allegations but aired them anyway.
Smartmatic, another voice technology company, has filed a similar defamation suit and is asking for $2.7 billion in damages.
In June, Fox News settled with a former producer, Abby Grossberg, for $12 million in a hostile workplace lawsuit.