Laura Luhn, a former employee at Fox News, accused the network’s late CEO Roger Ailes of “years of sexual abuse” and blackmail in a new lawsuit filed in the New York Supreme Court on Wednesday.
Ailes “used his position as the head of Fox News to trap Laura W. Luhn in a decades-long cycle of sexual abuse,” reads the lawsuit filed against the conservative channel; its former co-president, Bill Shine; and former parent company, 21st Century Fox.
In the legal action, Luhn alleged Ailes photographed and filmed her “in compromising positions” years before she joined Fox as a booker in 1996. Ailes then used the images as “blackmail material that he explicitly described as his ‘insurance policy’” throughout her career, it added.
Fox’s corporate leadership including Shine, who left the network in 2017 and went on to become the Trump White House’s deputy chief of staff for communications, knew of Ailes’ conduct toward Luhn (who rose to senior director of corporate and special events before her departure in 2011) “yet did nothing to stop it,” the lawsuit states.
Ailes died in 2017 at age 77, a year after he left the network with a reported $40 million payout amid multiple allegations of pressuring female staffers into sexual relationships. The allegations reportedly cost 21st Century Fox some $45 million in settlements.
Of Luhn’s lawsuit, Fox News Media said in a statement shared with The Hill: “This matter was settled years ago, dismissed in subsequent litigation, and is meritless.”