Fox News producer Abby Grossberg has sued the network, alleging gender discrimination and harassment, antisemitism, and retaliation in addition to charges that she was made a scapegoat in the Dominion Voting Systems lawsuit against her employer. The Dominion part is complicated—Grossberg was definitely no innocent when it came to dealing with Donald Trump’s election lies. But her allegations about the gross sexism and misogyny that pervade the company are worth attention on their own, because yikes. This place is a cesspool.
As Grossberg’s lawsuit notes, she’s far from the first to sue Fox News on similar grounds. It offers close to 10 pages of lawsuits, complaints, settlements, and continued promotion of the people implicated in those events. It also offers a series of vivid accounts of what Grossberg says she experienced.
RELATED STORY: Fox News producer sues, claiming company is making her a scapegoat in Dominion lawsuit
A significant part of Grossberg’s legal complaint is that her advancement was blocked because she is a woman. Her desire to officially get a job that she was already doing—that of executive producer on Sunday Morning Futures with Maria Bartiromo—was explicitly blocked because higher-ups wanted a man in that role. When a listing was posted for that job, “To Ms. Grossberg's dismay, Fox News executives then began sending prospective candidates, all of whom were male, to Ms. Bartiromo's personal assistants to vet.”
Throughout this time, Grossberg heard executives disparaging Bartiromo in explicitly gendered terms: She was “crazy,” “menopausal,” “hysterical,” needed to be “controlled,” and was a “crazy bitch.” This is how Fox News treats one of its hosts.
That’s bad enough. But when Grossberg transferred to Tucker Carlson’s show—where she was hired at a salary that senior executive producer Justin Wells admitted was lower than men in comparable roles—things got worse.
On “Ms. Grossberg's first full day on the TCT team, she was shocked to be greeted by many large and blown-up photographs of Nancy Pelosi in a plunging bathing suit revealing her cleavage.” The next day, in the presence of senior producer Alexander McCaskill, Wells asked her, “Is Maria Bartiromo fucking Kevin McCarthy?” That’s of a piece with an environment in which the male producers on Tucker Carlson’s show regularly referred to women as “cunts.”
Twice when Tudor Dixon, then the Republican gubernatorial nominee in Michigan, appeared on the show, “crass and sexist discussion in the newsroom ensued regarding whether Ms. Dixon or her opponent, Governor Gretchen Whitmer, was ‘hotter and more fuckable.’” Similarly, a producer at one point said Republican Rep. Kat Cammack was “fat like Kelly Clarkson,” with another male staffer chiming in that “she only became a Congresswoman because she fucked the person who had the job before her.”
This way of talking about women extended to women in the office.
Mr. Wells and Mr. McCaskill often remarked that Lexi Ciccone, a TCT Booker who reported to Ms. Grossberg, should use her sex appeal to the TCT team's advantage, such as by sleep[ing] with Elon Musk to get [an] interview and that she could be his next wife. Ms. Ciccone herself, likely feeling as if she needed to fit in and add commentary matching her misogynist work environment, would respond that men masturbated to her.
Grossberg and another Jewish staffer were regularly harassed on that basis, with McCaskill putting a Christmas tree near Grossberg’s desk and hanging a sign on it reading “Hannukah Bush.”
In late 2022, booking producer Eldad Yaron “bought a babka (a historically Jewish sweet bread) for the office. When Mr. McCaskill learned that there was babka in the office, he began to loudly and obnoxiously demand that the TCT booking team have ‘the bread made by the Jews.’ Thereafter, anytime Mr. Yaron purchased his lunch from the Jewish bakery known as Breads Bakery, Mr. McCaskill loudly proclaimed to the TCT booking team that Mr. Yaron went to the ‘Jew bakery,’ and that he had gone ‘to see his people.’”
When Grossberg complained about the environment and how she was being treated, she alleges she experienced retaliation. Ultimately, she was put on forced administrative leave and Fox News sued her. She is suing Fox News and a series of its executives over violations of equal pay laws, gender discrimination, religious discrimination, retaliation, failure to accommodate disability, and aiding and abetting unlawful discrimination and retaliation.
What do Americans really think about the issues? It turns out they are a surprisingly liberal bunch, as Rachael Russell of Navigator Research tells us on this episode of The Downballot. Russell explains how Navigator conducts in-depth research to fill in gaps in policy debates with hard data instead of pundit speculation. The challenge for Democrats is that many voters say they hold progressive beliefs but still pull the lever for Republicans. That imbalance, however, presents an opportunity—Democrats just have to seize it.