Fox News sued by family of Ukrainian journalist killed while covering war over ‘reckless and negligent conduct’

Fox News sued by family of Ukrainian journalist killed while covering war over ‘reckless and negligent conduct’ - Crime and Courts - News

Fox News Faces Allegations of Reckless Conduct in Lawsuit Over Deaths of Journalist and Contractor in Ukraine

Two years after the tragic deaths of Fox News photojournalist Pierre Zakrzewski and contractor Oleksandra “Sasha” Kuvshynova in Ukraine, the network is being accused of engaging in negligent behavior that put their crew in harm’s way. In a lawsuit filed on Thursday in New York State court, Kuvshynova’s parents and former security contractor Shane Thomson named Fox News, Fox Corporation Chairman Emeritus Rupert Murdoch, Fox News Chief Executive Suzanne Scott, and correspondent Benjamin Hall as defendants.

The events leading up to the March 14, 2022 tragedy were uncovered during an extensive investigation conducted by lawyers for Thomson and Kuvshynova’s parents. According to the lawsuit, the Fox News team ignored warnings and disregarded the advice of their security consultant to avoid the Irpin-Hostomel area near Kyiv. The mayor of Irpin had previously barred journalists from entering the city, and Thomson had vetoed the idea of reporting from the area due to its dangerous nature.

Despite these warnings, the crew decided to proceed to the region and rendezvoused with Ukrainian soldiers who had previously escorted reporters from The New York Times into the area. However, their vehicle was not large enough to accommodate all team members, and they were forced to leave their security consultant behind. The absence of the security contractor, as the lawsuit alleges, proved fatal as the crew made crucial mistakes that ultimately led to their attack and demise.

The Fox News team stopped at an abandoned checkpoint where they were ambushed, resulting in the deaths of Zakrzewski and Kuvshynova. While Hall survived the attack, he was left grievously injured before being taken for emergency medical care. The lawsuit claims that Fox News attempted to cover up its failures and hide them from the public by withholding any records of evaluations or re-evaluations of the crew’s assignment, as well as allegedly imposing non-disclosure and non-disparagement agreements on surviving family members.

The lawsuit also accuses Fox News of tasking Thomson with transporting Zakrzewski’s body across the Polish border to his widow and dismissing him without explanation after the tragic incident. Additionally, Thomson alleges that Fox News employees spread false rumors about him having a drinking problem during the fatal assignment to deflect blame from the network.

Kuvshynova’s parents and Thomson are seeking unspecified punitive damages in the lawsuit. The tragic incident took place just one day after journalists were banned from entering Irpin, with Anton Gerashchenko, an advisor to the Ukrainian interior minister, blaming Russian forces for artillery shelling at the time. Fox News announced the deaths at the time, with CEO Suzanne Scott stating that their team’s vehicle came under fire as they were reporting.

The lawsuit alleges that Fox News failed to heed warnings, disregarded the advice of their security consultant, and ultimately put their crew in harm’s way, resulting in the deaths of two valued team members and the severe injury of another.