The Bolling Situation…

I have held off writing about the Eric Bolling situation because, frankly, I don’t know what to make of it. Bolling was suspended pending an investigation by FNC after a Yashar Ali article came out in the Huffington Post saying that Bolling engaged in some rather Anthony Weiner like behavior a few years ago with a few FNC/FBN female colleagues.

Bolling has proclaimed his innocence and filed a 50 million dollar defamation lawsuit against Ali.

Usually with this kind of story you can get an idea early on which way things are headed but this time I’m just not sure.

On the one hand we have Ali’s story which allegedly has been corroborated in some way by over a dozen anonymous people.

And yet this story is coming out differently from what happened with the Roger Ailes and Bill O’Reilly (and even the Charles Payne) stories. In those, either lawsuits were filed (Ailes), legal settlements were paid out (O’Reilly), or a complaint had been lodged with FNC’s outside lawyers (Payne) before the story broke in the press.

But in this case it’s the opposite…the story has come out before anyone apparently filed any kind of complaint against Bolling. And the fact that said alleged photo, if it indeed exists, didn’t leak out after several years is…odd. These types of incidents usually do get out into the public domain by now.

That in itself does not repudiate the story outlined in the Huffington Post but it does make me sit back and go, “Hmmmmm…”

Just as FNC scrubbing Bolling’s name off The Specialists Twitter feed makes me sit back and go, “Hmmmm…”

…though not so much when you consider that The Specialists’ web page is 100% intact.

Update: Not 100% intact. Some changes were made. But not all traces of Bolling were expunged either so…somewhat inconclusive.

In a post Gawker world, the landscape for public defamation lawsuits has changed, particularly where web journalism is involved. Gawker’s demise has emboldened others to take a shot at cases that prior to Hulk Hogan’s legal take down of Gawker would not have been contemplated. Not that this means Bolling’s suit is meritless nor is that what I’m saying. But the idea of multi-million dollar defamation suit as intimidation weapon is a concept we can’t dismiss as easily as before.

One of two things will happen. Either FNC’s investigation clears Bolling (and any clearance better contain details as to why the charges don’t hold up) or the investigation turns up something and then FNC is in a pickle.

Losing Bolling would hurt…especially after Ailes and O’Reilly were forced out and Payne currently twists in the wind. It would permanently damage The Specialists which, despite FNC making this out to be a panel show, is really a Bolling vehicle. He’s the heart of it and if you search Twitter you’ll see a lot of tweets demanding Bolling be brought back.

The lawsuit itself is thorny. Either its an intimidation bluff attempt that will wither and die the moment the discovery process is opened or it’s the real deal and Ali’s in big big trouble. We won’t know for sure which way this is going until/unless it makes it all the way to court.

The lawsuit may actually complicate matters for the network. It would be particularly bad if FNC let Bolling back on the air but the defamation suit went ahead and Bolling lost after evidence came out in court refuting Bolling’s denials. That would put FNC in a bind. This possibility is one reason the investigation may take a long time to resolve itself because FNC may wait to see what happens with the court case.

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5 Responses to “The Bolling Situation…”

  1. […] CNN firing of Lord was stupid; is the bell tolling for […]

  2. Mitch Alan Says:

    It’s rather ridiculous to say the FNC must wait until Bolling’s civil suit is settled.

  3. I didn’t say they “mus” wait. I meant they may choose to wait. But perhaps I didn’t word that clear enough.

  4. Maybe I’m biased but I think the Ali story rings true – although some of the details may be different. I just don’t see Huffpost printing a story that could bankrupt them both financially and ethically if proven wrong. The defamation lawsuit is standard practice these days and
    will go away if/when complainants come forward.

    The other thing that caught my attention was Bolling’s statement in that he “recalls no such inappropriate communications (and) does not believe he sent such communications”…

    What! He can’t remember if he sent d*ck pics to female colleagues? That one doesn’t pass the LOL test.

  5. As I remember the whole Tantaros saga, her image was left up on the “Outnumbered” website long after it became clear she would not be coming back. It must be a legal thing where they can’t take Bolling down from his show’s website until he is officially fired. It took Fox quite a while before they officially fired Tantaros.

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