Former Fox News host Kimberly Guilfoyle has retained a law firm and has threatened to sue liberal media outlet Huffington Post over a story that claims that her departure from the network was involuntary.
Fox issued a statement on Friday indicating that the host — who appeared on shows like “Outnumbered” and “The Five” — had left the network.
Speculation in the entertainment media at the time was that she was leaving to work on Donald Trump’s re-election campaign, which was soon confirmed when she joined a pro-Trump super PAC, America First Action, as vice chairwoman.
“America First is delighted to welcome Kimberly to the team,” Thomas Hicks, Jr., Chairman of the Board of America First Action, said in an announcement Tuesday, according to The Hill.
“It’s an honor to have such a talented woman and one of the most highly sought-after television personalities in the country help us achieve our objective — helping the President Make America Great Again.”
Given that Variety reported that Fox News had “reined in on-air employees who appeared to take part in political campaigns” recently, the departure seemed to be self-explanatory.
However, a short story by Yashar Ali at the Huffington Post claimed that Guilfoyle didn’t leave on her own accord.
“Three sources tell HuffPost that longtime Fox News host Kimberly Guilfoyle did not leave the cable news network voluntarily,” the story reads.
“Guilfoyle, who is currently in a relationship with President Donald Trump’s son Donald Trump Jr., has worked at the network since 2006. She has been a legal analyst and host, including for the show ‘The Five.'”
None of Ali’s sources could actually name why Guilfoyle was separated from the network involuntarily, and the story itself was relatively tentative; the remainder of the four-graf piece included a snippet of Fox News’ announcement of her departure and a statement from someone in Guilfoyle’s team that the split was “mutual and amicable.” There wasn’t a whole lot there to support the story’s premise.
However, that was enough for Guilfoyle to, um, let Ali know he was treading into dangerous waters with her.
“Kimberly Guilfoyle has retained the law firm of Clare Locke & sent a threatening legal notice to HuffPost and me. Saying that my story had false and defamatory claims and that if the story wasn’t retracted it would constitute evidence of ‘actual malice,'” Ali tweeted, along with a parenthetical saying “The story is accurate.”
A further tweet pointed to a story by Lachlan Cartwright, noting that the firm Guilfoyle had hired specialized in “killing stories.”
The same firm was retained by The New York Times’ Glenn Thrush when sexual misconduct allegations were being pursued against him, apparently.
There are several relatively skeevy things going on here. The first is that Ali’s contention that Guilfoyle didn’t leave by her own choice isn’t really backed up by anything but “sources,” yet he makes a point to note that she retained the same firm that represented a guy who was allegedly a serial sexual harasser.
The inescapable intimation, of course, is that Guilfoyle is accused of something terrible — except that there’s literally nothing that Ali can report about the case other than the fact that he says he has sources that the departure was involuntary.
You could chalk this up to Mr. Ali attempting to catalyze a Streisand Effect reaction or simply trying to hint at something he apparently doesn’t have the evidence to prove — at least at the moment.
Whether this is worth a lawsuit is still up for debate, but there’s no question about whether this is poor journalistic behavior.
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