Fox News brought in New York law firm Davis & Gilbert to conduct the recent sexual harassment investigation that led to anchor Ed Henry’s ouster, sources familiar with the probe tell Bloomberg Law.
Gregg Gilman, co-chair of the firm’s labor and employment practice group, led the team hired by Fox News to look into an unidentified former employee’s accusations against Henry, the sources said. Henry, who the company announced Wednesday had been fired, was accused of “willful sexual conduct in the workplace years ago” chief executive Suzanne Scott and executive editor Jay Wallace said in a memo to staff the same day.
Fox News spokeswoman Caley Cronin declined to comment on Davis & Gilbert’s role in the investigation. Gilman and representatives for the firm didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.
Scott and Wallace said in the staff memo that the network “immediately retained an outside law firm” after being informed of the allegations against Henry. They added that the unidentified firm “has never represented Fox news in investigations or litigation.”
Gilman has decades of experience representing companies in sex discrimination and harassment investigations, according to Davis & Gilbert.
Epstein Becker and Quinn Emanuel are among the firms that have previously represented Fox News in matters involving sexual misconduct allegations against Roger Ailes, the network’s founder, and former anchor Bill O’Reilly. The company—and its lawyers—have come under fire in the wake of the #MeToo movement for requiring employees to sign nondisclosure agreements.
Fox News initially suspended Henry, 48, a co-anchor of Fox’s “America’s Newsroom,” the same day it received the complaint. The company then terminated him “based on investigative findings,” according to the memo.
Henry had no immediate comment.
The former employee who made the complaint, who remained unnamed, is represented by Manhattan lawyer Douglas Wigdor, who has filed lawsuits on behalf of employees in misconduct cases against Fox News. Wigdor also represented Juliette Huddy, one of the women who accused O’Reilly of attempting to have a sexual relationship with her and later retaliating against her when she refused.
Wigdor also represented six women who accused former Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein of sexual misconduct, and, briefly, Tara Reade, who claimed that Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden sexually assaulted her in 1993, when she worked on his Senate staff. Biden denied the accusation, and Wigdor dropped Reade as a client after reports that she may have lied under oath about earning an undergraduate degree.
Henry’s departure recalled the network’s past incidents with inappropriate behavior by high-ranking employees, including Ailes and O’Reilly. Both were forced to leave Fox News after accusations of sexual misconduct involving employees.
Scott said in the staff memo that she was announcing Henry’s dismissal “in an effort toward full transparency given the many actions we have taken to improve the culture here over the last four years.”
Henry joined Fox in 2011, after covering the White House for CNN. Fox reportedly required him to take leave in 2016 following published reports of an extramarital relationship with a woman he met in Las Vegas. He was removed from White House coverage, and later tapped for “America’s Newsroom.”