Based on last week’s reports regarding top Fox News PR man Brian Lewis‘ abrupt departure from the company, you’d be excused for thinking everything is just peachy keen forever. In his first public statement to our sister site TVNewser, he refused to address any “rampant speculation” and assured everyone that:
…it has been an honor and privilege to work for Roger Ailes the past 20 years and I wish nothing but the best for him and the great people at Fox News.
This quote reads a little odd considering the fact that his now-former employer tied his departure to “issues relating to financial irregularities” and “multiple” breaches of contract, an accusation just vague enough to be frightening. Today, however, the gloves are off. Lewis hired former Donald Trump lawyer Judd Burstein, who gave the following statement to Gawker:
I have just been retained and am still plotting our course of action. But two things are very clear to me. First, Brian Lewis no longer has any confidentiality obligation to Newscorp or Roger Ailes because of the false and malicious statements made by Fox to date. Second, Roger Ailes and Newscorp have a lot more to fear from Brian Lewis telling the truth about them than Brian Lewis has to fear from Roger Ailes and his toadies telling lies about Brian Lewis.
Passive aggressive much? We’re assuming the “false and malicious statements” concern the reason for his release; various sources told Politico and others that they suspected him of leaking information, specifically to New York magazine’s Gabriel Sherman, author of an upcoming tell-all book about the Fox organization.
Since that interview, various sources and “senior executives” have made statements designed to play down the perception that Lewis was Ailes’ “right hand man” and that he, along with Sherman, is not one to be trusted. A week ago, one went so far as to tell Mediaite that “If Gabe Sherman’s book comes from the mind of Brian Lewis, it’ll be fiction.”
It’s a living, breathing lesson in message management—and the message is that no one should pay any attention to Brian Lewis. Don’t expect this story to end anytime soon.