New York City’s pension funds and the state of Oregon have filed a lawsuit against Fox Corporation, alleging that the company allowed Fox News to spread falsehoods about the 2020 election, which resulted in harm to investors and made the network vulnerable to defamation lawsuits.
The lawsuit, filed in Delaware, claims that the company’s amplification of conspiracy theories about the election, including settling a defamation lawsuit with Dominion Voting Systems for nearly $800 million, invited further legal action.
New York City Comptroller Brad Lander, who manages the city’s pension funds, stated, “Fox’s board of directors has blatantly disregarded the need for journalistic standards and failed to put safeguards in place despite having a business model that invites defamation litigation.”
A spokesperson for Fox Corporation has not yet responded to the lawsuit.
The pension funds of New York City own shares valued at $28.1 million in Fox Corporation, while Oregon holds shares worth around $5.2 million.
The lawsuit does not specify the damages being sought but alleges that the board of Fox made a deliberate choice to broadcast former President Donald Trump’s false election claims in order to appease his supporters, despite the potential legal consequences.
In April, Fox News agreed to pay Dominion Voting Systems $787.5 million to settle a lawsuit, accusing the news outlet of promoting false conspiracy theories about the election and damaging Dominion’s reputation.
Smartmatic USA, another voting machine company, has also sued Fox News over similar claims.
Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum stated that Fox Corporation breached its fiduciary duties by ignoring the legal risks associated with spreading falsehoods.
“The directors’ choices exposed themselves and the company to liability and exposed their shareholders to significant risks,” Rosenblum said. “That is the crux of our lawsuit, and we look forward to making our case in court.”