Suspended Fox News host Eric Bolling has filed a $50 million defamation lawsuit against the Huffington Post contributor behind a story alleging Mr. Bolling sent lewd text messages to female colleagues several years ago.
Mr. Bolling filed the lawsuit Wednesday in state Supreme Court in Manhattan accusing contributing writer Yashar Ali of making misleading statements about the Fox News host’s conduct and character, according to reports.
Mr. Ali’s story that broke Friday cited 14 anonymous sources corroborating allegations that Mr. Bolling sent at least two female colleagues an “unsolicited” photo of his genitals. Mr. Bolling, co-host of “Fox News Specialists,” was subsequently suspended “pending the results of an investigation.”
“This anonymously sourced and uncorroborated story is false, defamatory, and obviously intended to destroy this good man’s career and family,” Mr. Bolling’s lawyer, Michael J. Bowe, said in a statement. “We will defend Eric aggressively in court, where actual facts, based on evidence, testimony, and cross-examination, will belie these anonymous accusations.”
Mr. Ali and the Post are standing by the story.
“Just received a summons,” Mr. Ali tweeted Wednesday evening. “Eric Bolling is suing me for defamation - $50 million in damages. I stand by my reporting + will protect my sources.
“It’s important to note that Bolling’s summons does not include HuffPost - he is coming after me personally,” he wrote. “I’m a big boy…but very telling.”
The Post has vowed to support Mr. Ali financially.
“Yashar Ali is a paid freelancer under contract with HuffPost. We have no hesitation about standing by him financially in this case,” tweeted the Post’s editor-in-chief, Lydia Polgreen.
“Yashar Ali is a careful and meticulous reporter. We stand by his reporting,” the Post said.
Meanwhile, Mr. Bolling tweeted that he “will continue to fight against these false smear attacks! THANK YOU FOR CONTINUED SUPPORT.”