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Former Fox News reporter sues over alleged retaliation

Jason Donner claims he was fired after expressing concern over how the network was handling its coverage of the January 6 siege on the U.S. Capitol in 2021.

Jason Donner claims he was fired after expressing concern over how the network was handling its coverage of the January 6 siege on the U.S. Capitol in 2021.

Pro-Trump protesters participate in a rally outside the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, January 6, 2021. (Photo by Tyler Merbler, Wikimedia Commons)

A Fox News Channel reporter who was fired late last year has filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against the network and its parent company, claiming he was retaliated against after raising concerns about the cable channel’s coverage of the insurrection on the U.S. Capitol two years ago.

The lawsuit was filed by former Capitol Hill reporter Jason Donner in late September, and was transferred to federal court this week. Donner claims the network engaged in discriminatory practices and retaliation, leading to his termination after he complained that the depiction of the January 6 siege was not in line with how events actually unfolded.

According to Donner, the network portrayed events at the U.S. Capitol as “peaceful,” while Donner was huddled with other reporters in various offices at the Capitol. After learning about how the network was portraying the attack on television, Donner says he called into the channel’s control room to let them know that police were confronting protesters with tear gas and live ammunition as they were storming through various offices of the building.

Donner further complained that the network’s follow-up reports on the Capitol siege were not in line with reality, in that they continued to claim the protest was peaceful. He also took issue with the way former Fox News commentator Tucker Carlson described the events, calling his untruths “demoralizing.” Carlson was fired earlier this year shortly after the network settled a defamation lawsuit brought by Dominion Voting Systems related to election-related misinformation aired on his program and other Fox News shows.

In his complaint, Donner said he took several days of leave in mid-September of last year, only to be fired while he was absent. He claims the firing was directly linked to his concerns over how the network covered the January 6 attack, which he claims was intended to cater to Trump’s fan base.

Officials at Fox News have not yet commented on the lawsuit. Lawyers representing Donner declined to offer additional information when contacted by reporters on Monday.

The lawsuit is seeking unspecified damages related to Donner’s termination.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).