Just days after former Fox News anchor Ed Henry filed a defamation lawsuit against his former boss Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott, he announced Friday (through his attorney) that he filed a separate defamation lawsuit against CNN and NPR.
“My client, Ed Henry, is a journalist’s journalist who won the top award for excellence in White House coverage twice, so he reluctantly brings this action,” Henry’s attorney Ty Clevenger said in a statement. “But there is no excuse for sloppy, reckless journalism that smears him or anyone else. CNN and NPR will be held accountable for what they’ve done to Ed, and given their animosity toward Fox News, I suspect they will be serving a lot of interesting subpoenas on Fox.”
In the lawsuit, Henry singles out NPR media correspondent David Folkenflik, CNN chief media correspondent Brian Stelter, and CNN Newsroom co-anchor Alisyn Camerota (a one-time colleague of Henry’s at Fox).
From the complaint:
“When Mr. Henry’s termination was announced on July 1, 2020, Mr. Folkenflik published a story on the NPR website that made false or misleading statements about Mr. Henry. Mr. Folkenflik’s claim that ‘Fox’s top news exec and & top HR official were warned [in 2017] that giving Henry hosting roles would damage reform efforts after harassment scandals there’ was completely false. Fox has since declared publicly that the company received no sexual misconduct complaints about Mr. Henry before Ms. Eckhart’s allegations in June of 2020.”
Henry also claims that Folkenflik’s tweet was “defamatory and portrayed Mr. Henry in a false light because it implied that Mr. Henry had a history of sexual misconduct at Fox News.” He adds that the tweet “falsely implied that Ms. Eckhart’s allegations against Mr. Henry were true insofar as Mr. Henry purportedly had a history of sexual misconduct at Fox News.”
The complaint also details Stelter’s appearance on CNN New Day (when Camerota still co-hosted that program) in July 2020, where he analyzed Folkenflik’s reporting, and added that Henry “was known to be a problem internally.”
The complaint adds: “Mr. Stelter was relying on Mr. Folkenflik’s false report about an internal complaint, and Mr. Stelter recklessly republished Mr. Folkenflik’s allegation without confirming its authenticity. Likewise, they should have known that they could not haphazardly repeat the unproven allegations of another journalist, i.e., Mr. Folkenflik. Because of their animosity, however, Ms. Camerota and Mr. Stelter smeared Mr. Henry in order to impugn Fox News.”
When reached for comment, NPR’s executive director of media relations Isabel Lara told TVNewser: “NPR stands behind David Folkenflik’s reporting and will vigorously defend it against this meritless claim. Millions of Americans trust NPR to provide accurate information about the world and their communities every day; we take this responsibility very seriously.”
CNN declined to comment.