In a slugfest between two prominent New York litigators, plaintiffs lawyer Douglas Wigdor on Wednesday cited his appreciation for Fox News—and his financial backing for Donald Trump’s presidential campaign—to refute the suggestion that he’s part of a left-wing conspiracy against just-ousted Fox commentator Bill O’Reilly.
“As someone who supported and contributed to the Trump campaign and who routinely watches Fox News, I can categorically deny, and find it offensive, that my firm is being accused of being controlled by far-left organizations,” Wigdor said in a statement. “To the contrary, we have and will continue to vindicate the rights of all employees to ensure that they are treated fairly and lawfully regardless of who they work for or what political beliefs such employer may support.”
Wigdor was responding to Marc Kasowitz of Kasowitz Benson Torres, who is both a longtime lawyer for Trump before his presidency and the lead attorney defending O’Reilly against a rising tide of sexual harassment allegations. Not long after Wigdor’s statement, CNN reported that O’Reilly would be leaving Fox amid the allegations. (Fox had tapped Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison for an internal investigation.)
In a widely reported statement on Tuesday, Kasowitz said: “Bill O’Reilly has been subjected to a brutal campaign of character assassination that is unprecedented in post-McCarthyist America. This law firm has uncovered evidence that the smear campaign is being orchestrated by far-left organizations bent on destroying O’Reilly for political and financial reasons.”
Wigdor’s firm represents Juliet Huddy, a former Fox employee who claims O’Reilly pursued her sexually in 2011 and then derailed her career. Other Wigdor clients have filed a racial discrimination complaint against Fox, alleging they were subjected to “years-long relentless racial animus at the hands of their white supervisor.”
Wigdor on Wednesday also promised more litigation. “In the coming days, we will be filing additional complaints and allegations against Fox News that will shed further light on the abhorrent, intolerable, and unlawful working conditions that our clients have been forced to endure,” he wrote.
Fox News and O’Reilly have denied the allegations.
Miriam Rozen covers the business of law with a focus on law firm-client relationships. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter: @MiriamRozen.