On Tuesday, the state of Oregon and the pension funds for New York City filed a complaint against Fox Corporation, claiming that the corporation injured investors by permitting Fox News to air misleading information about the 2020 election, putting the network at risk of libel litigation.
The case, which was filed in Delaware, accuses the business of encouraging defamation lawsuits by promoting election-related conspiracies, including one that Fox News settled for nearly $800 million with the manufacturer of voting machines, Dominion Voting Systems.
New York City Comptroller Brad Lander, who oversees the city’s pension funds, said that 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.”
Fox Corporation’s representative declined to respond. Long-time owners of Fox Corporation, the pension funds of New York City had stock worth $28.1 million at the end of July.
Oregon owns stock in the business worth about $5.2 million. According to the case, which does not specify the amount of damages it seeks, the board of Fox agreed to air the election lies of former president Donald Trump in order to appease his fans, despite knowing that doing so would subject the corporation to legal action.
In order to avoid disappointing Fox News viewers, the defendants “opted to invite robust defamation claims, with potentially enormous financial liability and larger business repercussions,” according to the lawsuit.
In order to avoid a trial in the case filed by Dominion Voting Systems, which would have revealed how the network disseminated false information about the 2020 presidential election, Fox News agreed to pay the corporation $787.5 million in April. Dominion had contended that the news organization harmed its reputation by spreading unfounded rumors that their machinery had moved votes from Republican Donald Trump to Democrat Joe Biden.
When the settlement was announced, Lachlan Murdoch, chair and CEO of Fox Corp., said it prevented “the acrimony of a divisive trial and a multiyear appeal process, a decision clearly in the best interests of the company and its shareholders.”
As a result of Fox News’ coverage of election conspiracies, Smartmatic USA, a different manufacturer of voting machines, also filed a lawsuit. Attorney General of Oregon Ellen Rosenblum claimed in a statement that by ignoring legal dangers, the Fox had violated its fiduciary obligations.
According to her, “the directors’ decisions exposed themselves, the company, and their shareholders to serious risks.” We are eager to present our argument in court because that is the main contention of our complaint.