DALLAS >> Tomi Lahren, a young, incendiary conservative commentator, is suing her former boss, Glenn Beck, and his media firm, The Blaze, for wrongful termination over her comments on abortion.
According to Lahren’s lawsuit, filed Friday in Dallas County, The Blaze canceled Lahren’s show after she made the controversial abortion statements last month on the daytime talk show “The View.” But The Blaze wanted to keep paying Lahren, the suit says, “presumably hoping they could find an exit strategy to sanitize their unlawful conduct” in breaking Lahren’s two-year employment contract, which was to continue through Sept. 30.
The Blaze, which is based in Irving, said Friday that Lahren had not been terminated.
“It is puzzling that an employee who remains under contract (and is still being paid) has sued us for being fired, especially when we continue to comply fully with the terms of our agreement with her,” a Blaze spokesman said.
The spokesman said Beck would not comment directly on the suit.
Lahren’s suit alleges that the hubbub surrounding her comments was “a public smear campaign” orchestrated to “inflate Beck’s profile, from what has become a mediocre following, all at (Lahren’s) expense.”
The suit also says that The Blaze won’t allow Lahren access to her Facebook page, where she has 4.2 million followers, which has “irreparably harmed” Lahren.
A Blaze producer traveled with Lahren to her appearance on “The View,” the suit says, in which Lahren said: “I can’t sit here and be a hypocrite and say I’m for limited government but I think the government should decide what women do with their bodies.”
After the show, the producer “applauded” Lahren’s appearance, the suit says, and she received several “congratulatory” emails from co-workers.
“No one told (Lahren) that her statements on The View were either improper or inappropriate; and, indeed, that (Lahren’s) point of view is just that — her point of view and freedom of expression,” the suit says.
Beck and The Blaze knew of her pro-abortion rights position, which she had expressed before, and “never took any issue with it,” the suit says.
But the comments drew ire from many conservatives, including Beck, who retweeted a video showing Lahren months earlier referring to abortion as “murder.”
Beck also suggested on Twitter that Lahren’s claim of being a libertarian clashed with her support of President Donald Trump’s executive orders and health care proposal, adding “#intellectualhonesty.”
The Blaze’s human resources director then called Lahren and told her that “her employment was terminated, she would have no more shows,” solely because of her abortion comments, the suit says.
Lahren was “understandably disappointed, saddened and in shock for being suspended for freely expressing her opinions, which certainly reconcile with what is the law of the land in the United States i.e., a woman’s constitutional right to choose and in no way inconsistent with any of (Lahren’s) obligations under the Employment Contract,” the suit says.
Lahren’s bosses ordered her to “go dark” and stay silent on social media, the suit says, adding that the Facebook page is not The Blaze’s property. Lahren hasn’t posted to her Facebook page since March 19.
Her co-workers placed yellow caution tape spelling an ‘X’ on Lahren’s dressing room door. The Blaze terminated her work email account, according to the lawsuit. Supervisors cut off communication with Lahren, said her lawyer, Brian Lauten.
That was all retaliation and added up to her being fired, even if The Blaze considers her status there a suspension, Lauten said. He said the company has already breached the contract “100 times over”; for example, the firm hasn’t fulfilled its promise to produce 230 one-hour episodes of Lahren’s show per year. He said Lahren wants to be free of her contract so she can go back to posting online and look for another job.
“She’s like an eagle that feels like it’s had its wings clipped,” Lauten said. “She’s ready to pursue her career and reconnect with her millions of followers.”
The suit asks a judge to grant Lahren a temporary restraining order, which would protect her right to speak freely as well as block The Blaze from destroying any evidence related to the dispute. She’s asking for attorneys’ fees and costs, “as well as all other relief … which she may show herself justly entitled.”
“She’s very disappointed and sad that we’re in this situation,” Lauten said, “but they left her with no choice.”