'Roger's spy'

Former Fox News staffer files lawsuit over her portrayal in upcoming Roger Ailes series

The late Roger Ailes. (Photo by Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images)

Former Fox News booker Laurie Luhn has launched a lawsuit over a planned TV series about Roger Ailes that she claims portrays her as ‘pimping’ women, including Fox employees, to the former Fox News chief, so that he could sexually abuse them. According to the suit, which was filed against Showtime, Blumhouse Productions, and reporter Gabriel Sherman, whose book The Loudest Voice in the Room serves as the basis for an upcoming series on the late Ailes‘ abrupt fall from power at Fox News, Luhn was a victim of Ailes, not an ally.

The lawsuit alleges that Ailes had forced her into a sexual relationship and demanded that she follow his orders, using compromising photos and videos of her as collateral to ensure her obedience. Luhn said she “was forced to purchase black garters and stockings to wear for Ailes, which he called her ‘uniform,’” and that after receiving a promotion in 2004 was ordered by Ailes to “put on her ‘uniform’ and thank him for the promotion” in a hotel room, where he forced her to “perform oral sex.” Over the course of 20 years, Ailes repeatedly told her, “I own you,” and “utilized Fox News’ management and media relations department to monitor, harass, threaten and gaslight” Luhn, the lawsuit claims. Co-workers and others in the news business, she added, would openly refer to her as “Roger’s spy.”

In an article written by Sherman for New York Magazine in late July based on 11 hours of interviews with Luhn, the reporter wrote that “Luhn denied ever setting Ailes up with her staff for explicitly sexual purposes, but she did send them in for private meetings with him where she knew they could be exposed to sexual harassment.”

But Sherman, the lawsuit alleges, “coerced and induced” Luhn into the interview and “capitalized on her very vulnerable state of mind, PTSD and exploited an already terrified, confused and emotionally shattered woman.” His report, the lawsuit says, was filled with “false, misleading and defamatory statements and innuendos.” The lawsuit further claims that the upcoming Showtime series — starring Russell Crowe as Ailes, Naomi Watts as Gretchen Carlson, one of the first women to publicly accuse Ailes of harassment, and Annabell Wallis as Luhn — used Sherman’s reporting to falsely portray Luhn as a co-conspirator in Ailes’ abuse of women at the network. The suit seeks $750 million in damages and a permanent injunction that would bar the defendants from profiting from her story.

Read the full story at The Hollywood Reporter.

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