DALLAS (CN) – Talk show host Glenn Beck countersued Tomi Lahren on Monday, saying unprofessional and diva behavior was the reason she was taken off the air.
Beck and his Irving, Texas-based TheBlaze network countersued Lahren in Dallas County Court. Lahren sued them on April 7, claiming she was fired for defending a woman’s right to abortion rights views on ABC’s “The View” in March.
Lahren said on the show that she cannot support limited government while at the same time thinking that “the government should decide what women do with their bodies.”
“Stay out of my guns and you can stay out of my body as well,” she said at the time.
Lahren hosted “Tomi” on Beck’s network until being removed in March, and previously hosted “On Point with Tomi Lahren” on the conservative One America News Network.
Lahren said TheBlaze’s human resources director told her within days of her abortion comment that she was suspended indefinitely because of her opinion, and she was fired days later.
Lahren says she was told she would continue to be paid, and that she must “go dark” on social media. She says the network has failed to turn over administrative control to her Facebook profile, cutting off access to more than 4 million followers.
Beck and TheBlaze dispute that, saying the network had “employment issues” with Lahren for over a year.
“That is the reason why TheBlaze decided that it would not extend Lahren’s employment agreement beyond its expiration in September 2017 even before her appearance on ‘The View,’” the 35-page counterclaim states.
Beck claims Lahren behaved poorly around crew members of her show, and that she would not work with a make-up artist, which resulted in a report being filed with human resources.
“Lahren’s treatment of the floor crew was inappropriate and unprofessional, constantly complaining about everything including but not limited to lighting, room temperature, editing, shooting, directing, etc.,” the counterclaim states. “Lahren has been overheard by many employees complaining about TheBlaze, stating that she will sue TheBlaze and that she could own TheBlaze when she is done.”
Beck claims Lahren was “divisive and created conflicts” with other network personalities and that she “publicly commented on and disclosed” the monetary value of her wardrobe allowance without prior approval. He says her statements on “The View” were “the latest in a series of events that led TheBlaze management to conclude” it would not extend her contract.
Beck and TheBlaze say they never fired Lahren, that they continue to pay her under a “pay or play” provision in her contract that gives the network the right to not broadcast her show. They also deny that they have access to her social media accounts, alluding to her “continuous Twitter stream” and posts on Instagram.
“TheBlaze is the owner and administrator of the Facebook page where content created and owned by TheBlaze was posted,” the counterclaim states. “TheBlaze has never removed Lahren’s access to the Facebook page and the only restriction of her use of it would be to abide by her contract and her nondisclosure agreement.”
Beck claims Lahren’s lawsuit violates her employment contract, which has a binding arbitration clause that he says she ignored.
Lahren alluded to the counterclaim Monday night, tweeting that she will take the advice of Washington, D.C. rapper Wale and “just smile.”
She told ABC’s “Nightline” last week that she had been fired, but was still being paid by TheBlaze. She remained unapologetic for her opinions, saying she would never get an abortion herself but that option should be available for women during the first trimester of pregnancy.
Beck and TheBlaze seek a declaration that they are the rightful owner of the Facebook profile and that the employment contract remains in full force and effect. They also seek a temporary injunction, actual and punitive damages for breach of contract. They are represented by Eliot Burriss with McDermott Will in Dallas.
In a hastily called hearing late Monday afternoon, state District Judge Martin Hoffman issued a temporary restraining order that restores Lahren’s access to her Facebook profile. Hoffman did not rule on the issue of who the profile belongs to.
Lahren’s attorney, Brian P. Lauten with Deans Lyons in Dallas, told the judge Beck’s motive in restricting her social media posting was to harm her career. He said she would be irrelevant in the political commentary world if silenced for the six months remaining on her contract.
“In six months, nobody will have heard of you,” Lauten said, as reported by The Dallas Morning News. “When Glenn Beck’s done with you in six months, nobody will have remembered you. That’s wrong.”
Defense attorney Eliot Burriss, with McDermott Will in Dallas, reiterated to the judge that Lahren was still able to post on Facebook and that TheBlaze would not agree to be removed as administrator, that it owned the profile and its content. He repeated the claim that Lahren was not fired.
A hearing on request for a temporary injunction is scheduled for May 1.