A former Fox News employee is suing Showtime for portraying her in a coming mini-series about Roger Ailes as an enabler of the late network CEO’s alleged sexual harassment of women.
Larry Klayman, a former federal prosecutor and founder of both Judicial Watch and Freedom Watch, is representing Laurie Luhn, who worked on shows hosted by Brit Hume and Tony Snow before being promoted by Ailes.
“It is outrageous that defendants would seek to profit from Ms. Luhn’s tragic experience with Ailes and Fox News, yet heartlessly leave this defenseless, emotionally shattered and broken woman out in the cold! Showtime’s, Blumhouse Production’s and its writer Gabriel Sherman’s cruelty is only exceeded by Ailes and Fox News themselves! This injustice will not be allowed to stand,” Klayman said.
The complaint seeks some $750 million in damages.
The series is adapted from the book “The Loudest Voice in the Room,” which portrays Luhn as a “pimp for Ailes, willingly lining up women for him to sexually assault.”
Instead, Luhn alleges Ailes assaulted and harassed her to the point she considered suicide.
She also is seeking a court order preventing the show’s makers from profiting on her story.
Luhn said she “was forced to purchase black garters and stockings to wear for Ailes, which he called her ‘uniform,'” the complaint states.
The lawsuit claims that when Luhn was promoted, Ailes forced her to perform oral sex as a thank you.
Klayman contends Luhn is a “victim of the sexual, mental, highly destructive and tortuous abuse and mind control techniques by Roger Ailes and Fox News.”
The complaint, in Superior Court in Los Angeles, alleges that the harassment and psychological attacks were covered up by former Ailes “lieutenants” Bill Shine and Suzanne Scott.
Luhn’s experience with Ailes and Fox News occupies a central role in the miniseries, which is currently filming in Los Angeles, Klayman said.
“To this end, it is no coincidence that Ms. Luhn is being played by an A-List Actress Anabelle Wallis. But Ms. Luhn, who is not a public figure, is not being compensated for the use of her likeness and being, as is legally required. In this regard, on behalf of the defendants, their law firm, Davis Wright Tremaine, arrogantly told Ms. Luhn to get lost when she tried to settle with them, not even agreeing to use her as a consultant to ensure that the miniseries was factually accurate.”
Klayman’s complaint, which asks for a jury trial, seeks $250 million in damages plus $500,000 in punitive damages. It also demands fair compensation for the use of Luhn’s image, as well as assurances that it is accurate and non-defamatory.
“As an actual and proximate result of the aforesaid wrongful acts of defendants, plaintiff has suffered severe harm to her reputation in an amount to be determined at trial by a jury of her peers,” Klayman writes. “As an actual and proximate result of the aforesaid wrongful acts of defendants, defendants have received and will receive large profits from and attributable to the unauthorized use, which plaintiff is entitled to recover.”
The case claims misappropriation of right of privacy, misappropriation of common law right of publicity and right of privacy, as well as negligence.
The claim states: “During the entirety of plaintiffs’ time on staff at Fox News, Ailes demanded, coerced, blackmailed and forced sexual favors from her, making impossible, frightening, dangerous and unrealistic demands and using mind control techniques that he referred to as her ‘training.’ Ailes had bragged that he conducted training at the Central Intelligence Agency and this was his way to keep ‘plaintiff in line and loyal to him.'”
Ailes not only blackmailed and extorted her, the claim states, he released false statements and smears to managers, talent and staff at Fox News, defaming her. He also gave false statements to the media, the complaint says.