Fox News Accuses Gawker And Its ‘Mole’ Of ‘Criminal And Civil Wrongdoing’

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Fox News is pretty peeved about Gawker’s recently exposed — and now fired — “mole” inside the conservative cable network. On Thursday, attorneys at Epstein Becker & Green P.C. sent Gawker publisher Nick Denton a letter urging his blog to “immediately stop publishing information and videos that have been unlawfully obtained by or from Joe Muto, and return them to Fox News.”But that’s not all. The letter also urges Gawker to protect all evidence and material Muto gave Gawker. The letter claims that Gawker and Muto — a now-former associate producer at Fox News, who until Wednesday night remained anonymous — likely engaged in “criminal and civil wrongdoing,” which will be the subject of further investigation by Fox.

Gawker writer John Cook revealed the letter in a post that also bannered a photo of Fox Host Bill O’Reilly posing with a couple male friend and a topless woman. “We’ll explain where (the picture) came from later,” Cook wrote.

The letter continues:

“Gawker should also immediately take all necessary steps to preserve all documents and information that may be relevant to its hire and employment of Joe Muto including, but not limited to, personnel documents; its discussions, whether written or oral, with Joe Muto; any information provided to Gawker or written by Joe Muto for possible future publication; any Fox News documents provided by Joe Muto to Gawker; and any Fox News documents misappropriated by Joe Muto and Gawker.”

Cook told Forbes’ Jeff Bercovici that Gawker paid Muto $5,000 to dish on Fox, a decent price for Gawker considering the posts have racked up around 1.5 million page views.

Fox fired Muto on Thursday. Muto wrote in his revelatory post Wednesday night that he is “ready to tell” the story he wasn’t able to while staying anonymous. “Stay tuned for much, much more,” he wrote.

I’ve reached out to Gawker, Fox News and the attorney who sent the letter. Updates here when and if I hear back.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

David Taintor is a news editor at Talking Points Memo. Previously, he worked at NBC News and Adweek. He’s a native of Minnesota. Reach him at taintor@talkingpointsmemo.com.

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