Fox News hit with new defamation lawsuit after massive settlement

Nina Jankowicz was former executive director of government division dealing with disinformation threats to national security

Graeme Massie
Los Angeles
Thursday 11 May 2023 00:48 BST
Related video: Tucker Carlson announces new show on Twitter

A counter-disinformation expert has sued Fox News for allegedly promoting lies about her, just weeks after the network settled with Dominion Voting Systems for $787.5m.

Nina Jankowicz was the former executive director of a Department of Homeland Security division dealing with disinformation threats to national security.

The federal government’s Disinformation Governance Board was short-lived as it came under ferocious attack from right-wing politicians and pundits, including a string of Fox News hosts.

Ms Jankowicz, who is a specialist in Russian disinformation, was mentioned 300 times over the span of eight months on Rupert Murdoch’s right-wing channel, the lawsuit states.

Fox News hosts including Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity and Maria Bartiromo were among those who talked about her, with Carlson warning his audience she would “get men with guns to tell you to shut up.”

The lawsuit states that after the 34-year-old resigned to escape the attention she was receiving, Fox News hosts falsely claimed she had ben fired,” according to The New York Times.

Ms Jankowicz filed her lawsuit in the same Delaware court that Dominion Voting Systems filed its $1.6bn defamation claim, which was settled last month as the last minute.

She is seeking unspecified damages in her own case.

“Even after achieving their stated goal of driving me out of government and ending the board, they kept using me as a punching bag,” Ms Jankowicz told the newspaper on Wednesday.

“It shouldn’t be something we just accept, that the most powerful cable network in the world can attack individuals willy-nilly and not face any consequences after they ruin their lives.”

Days after Fox News settled with Dominion Voting Systems it parted company with Carlson, who has said he will continue to do his show on Twitter, despite still being under contract to the channel.

Lachlan Murdoch has said that Fox News paid the settlement to avoid a divisive trial and lengthy appeals process.

Mr Murdoch, executive chairman and CEO of Fox Corp, also noted that a Delaware judge “severely limited” Fox’s defences against Dominion Voting Systems, which said the network defamed it by airing bogus charges of election fraud that it knew was untrue.

“We made the business decision to resolve this dispute and avoid the acrimony of a divisive trial and multi-year appeal process, a decision clearly in the best interests of the company and its shareholders,” he told financial analysts.

The Independent has reached out to Fox for comment.

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