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Four months after Judge Andrew Napolitano was ousted from Fox News following multiple allegations of sexual misconduct, he made his return to cable news on Wednesday night with an appearance on wannabe Fox rival Newsmax.
Newsmax host Greg Kelly made no mention of the multiple lawsuits against Napolitano or the former judge’s long association with Fox News. Instead, he merely introduced Napolitano as a “longtime legal commentator.”
Napolitano, who served as Fox News’ senior judicial analyst for 24 years, split with the network in August amid a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by a Fox production assistant. According to the accusations made by 27-year-old John Fawcett, Napolitano made sexually suggestive comments to him and stroked his arm while on an elevator.
“It was common knowledge that Judge Napolitano sexually harassed young men at Fox News, and it even happened to one of the plaintiff’s co-workers,” Fawcett claimed in the lawsuit, also alleging that Fox made no efforts to investigate his complaint.
Fawcett further accused Fox Business host Larry Kudlow of making sexually inappropriate comments about women and using ethnic slurs in front of other staffers, including himself. While the network denied the allegations about Kudlow and the network, Napolitano was gone after the lawsuit was filed.
“Upon first learning of John Fawcett’s allegations against Judge Andrew Napolitano, FOX News Media immediately investigated the claims and addressed the matter with both parties,” a Fox News Media spokesperson said in August. “The network and Judge Napolitano have since parted ways. We take all allegations of misconduct seriously, are committed to providing a safe, transparent, and collaborative workplace environment for all our employees and took immediate, appropriate action.”
The statement added, referencing the accusations against Kudlow: “Furthermore, the additional allegations laid out in this claim are completely baseless and nothing more than a desperate attempt at a payday by trying the case in the court of public opinion as the complaint does not meet the standards of the law. We will defend the matter vigorously in court.”
Napolitano, meanwhile, had actually been off Fox airwaves since September 2020, after he was hit with two lawsuits alleging sexual assault that month. One suit accuses the former Fox News star of “forcibly sodomiz[ing] and sexually assault[ing]” a then-20-year-old criminal defendant back in 1987, further alleging that Napolitano used his judicial power to reduce the man’s sentence as a way of buying his silence.
“These accusations are completely false. Full stop. I have never done anything like what the accuser describes, at any time, to anyone, for any reason,” Napolitano said through his attorney Tom Clare at the time. A Fox News spokesperson also said Napolitano had “assured us in the strongest possible terms” that the allegations were untrue.
In another lawsuit that month, a New Jersey man also accused Napolitano of sexual assault, claiming the ex-judge forced him to take part in a “bizarre sex act” involving father-son roleplay. The suit also alleges that Napolitano drugged and attempted to rape the man multiple times. Napolitano’s on-air Fox appearances disappeared after the second suit was filed.
During his Wednesday night return on upstart right-wing network Newsmax, Napolitano was introduced by Kelly as a “former New Jersey superior court judge and longtime legal commentator.”
Napolitano, who recently began hosting a podcast and has continued to write opinion columns for right-wing outlets, spent the majority of his Newsmax appearance discussing the Kyle Rittenhouse case, which has just wrapped up its second day of jury deliberations. In addition to giving his legal opinions on the trial, Napolitano was asked to weigh in on the rest of the media’s reaction to the Rittenhouse case.
The ex-judge isn’t the only one-time Fox News star who recently resurfaced on fringe right-wing media following an ouster from Fox News over sexual assault allegations. Former Fox News anchor Ed Henry quietly showed up last month as a correspondent and host for little-watched conservative channel Real America’s Voice.
A Newsmax spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment about Napolitano’s appearance and whether he was scheduled to appear on any other upcoming programs.
Newsmax, in a continuing effort to replicate Fox News as it tries to find ways to compete with the much more successful network, has gone on a bit of a hiring spree in recent months. Besides bringing on two longtime former Fox News producers to expand its news operation, Newsmax is in negotiations with ex-Fox News correspondent James Rosen—who reportedly exited Fox in late 2017 amid a bevy of sexual misconduct claims.
Diana Falzone was an on-camera and digital reporter for FoxNews.com from 2012 to 2018. In May 2017, she filed a gender discrimination and disability lawsuit against the network and settled, and left the company in March 2018.