Fox News host Eric Bolling is fighting mad, and he’s taking that fight to court. Bolling is bringing the suit against a journalist that, Bolling says, erroneously reported he (Bolling) sent unwanted "sexts" to female colleagues some years back.
According to Huffington Post writer, Yashar Ali, Bolling sent several female colleagues "unsolicited" pictures of his genitals. Ali claims to have "more than a dozen" sources for the story, though he is refusing to name any of them. Bolling’s attorney called Ali’s account "anonymous" and "uncorroborated" further categorizing the claims in the story as "untrue and terribly unfair."
The attorney, Michael Bowe, went on, "This . . . story is false, defamatory, and obviously intended to destroy this good man's career and family. We will defend Eric aggressively in court, where actual facts, based on evidence, testimony, and cross-examination, will belie these anonymous accusations."
Bolling, for his part, took to Twitter (of course) to defend himself, "I will continue to fight against these false smear attacks! "Thank you for continued support."
While Bolling’s complaint only names Ali and not HuffPost, the online news outlet said it would fully support their freelance contributor, "Yashar Ali is a careful and meticulous reporter. We stand by his reporting . . . no hesitation about standing by him financially in this case."
Meanwhile, Fox has suspended Bolling pending an investigation into the incident. Bolling was most well-known at Fox for his role as the co-host on "The Five," a weekly roundtable discussion show. After "The Five"was moved to a different time-slot, Bolling stayed at 5 pm, helming a new program called "The Specialists." Now, he’s off the air — at least temporarily.
Whether or not the allegations against Bolling that Ali reported in the story are true, the host has a tougher hill to climb, thanks to the series of recent allegations coming out of Fox News. After the allegations against former Chief Executive Officer Roger Ailes, top personality Bill O’Reilly, and the harassment investigation against Fox Business contributor Charles Payne, the prevailing overall public relations image of the top personalities at Fox is one of a womanizing boy’s club.
While it matters to law and order if the allegations against these men are true, the scenario has public relations pitfalls for Bolling even if he’s completely innocent. The public is asking questions and making up their minds, in most cases without having any actual facts about the incident or the case. So, even if Bolling wins in court, his publicity battle is just beginning. That fight could take much longer. There’s two courts that matter – the court of law and the court of public opinion.
Ronn Torossian is one of America’s foremost Public Relations executives as founder/CEO of 5WPR, a leading independent PR Agency. The firm was honored as PR Firm of the Year by The American Business Awards, and has been named to the Inc. 500 List. Torossian is author of the best-selling "For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results with Game-Changing Public Relations." For more of Ronn Torossian's reports, Go Here Now.
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