Former Fox News Staff Back Sen. DiZoglio in Non-Disclosure Case; DiZoglio and Speaker DeLeo Spar

Political strategist Julie Roginsky, at podium; journalist Gretchen Carlson; and attorney Mitchell Garabedian were among those voicing support Monday for Sen. Diana DiZoglio’s bill to restrict use of non-disclosure agreements on Beacon Hill. (Sam Doran/SHNS.)

Two former Fox News personalities who sued the network’s then-CEO for sexual harassment added their voices Monday to state Sen. Diana DiZoglio’s push to restrict the use of non-disclosure agreements on Beacon Hill.

DiZoglio, who during a debate on sexual harassment policies in 2018 broke the non-disclosure agreement she’d signed when fired from a job as a House aide years earlier, filed a bill this session that would ban the use of public funds for “silencing the complainant or concealing the details related to claims of sexual harassment or assault.”

“You should not be able to purchase somebody’s silence, to be able to move from one victim to the next,” DiZoglio said at a press conference where she urged the Judiciary Committee to endorse and advance the bill ahead of a Feb. 5 deadline.

DiZoglio was critical of Speaker Robert DeLeo over the incident. Offering a message to her fellow legislators Monday, she said, “Your speaker lied to you and put you in a very bad position, both by unequivocally denying that he has given out NDAs for anything related to sexual harassment, when I have one from his office and my circumstances were widely publicized leading up to my wrongful termination, and also by exploiting victims’ need for confidentiality, to convince you, during a rushed and emotional debate, to allow these agreements to continue to be used by his office and elsewhere in our government.”

DeLeo’s office responded to DiZoglio’s remarks with a lengthy statement describing the process leading up to DiZoglio’s agreement and the new House rule around NDAs. The statement said the House has not “executed an agreement with any current or former employee that contains a non-disclosure agreement since the adoption of House Rule 100.”

“It is also important to point out that at no time, either during her employment with the House or after her termination from the House, did Senator DiZoglio or her private attorney ever allege that she had been a victim of sexual harassment until March of 2018 when Sen. DiZoglio made her experience public,” the statement said.

DiZoglio singled out Gov. Charlie Baker as well, calling for him and DeLeo to both “get on board.”

“Politically speaking at least, they are the most powerful men in Massachusetts and they are the ones that hold the keys to whether or not this legislation passes,” she said.

Asked later in the day about DiZoglio’s bill, DeLeo and Baker both reiterated that their policies are to allow NDAs only when a victim requests one. DeLeo said that decision “was not made in a vacuum.”

The Methuen Democrat said if her bill doesn’t come out of committee, she’ll pursue other ways of bringing its language to the floor, including potentially as a budget amendment.

DiZoglio was joined by journalist Gretchen Carlson, political strategist Julie Roginsky, attorney Mitchell Garabedian, Congresswoman Lori Trahan and state Reps. Alyson Sullivan, Maria Robinson and John Rogers.

Carlson filed a sexual harassment suit against the late Fox News CEO Roger Ailes in 2016, which led to other women coming forward with allegations and ultimately to his resignation. Roginsky sued the following year. The two women co-founded the Lift Our Voices Coalition, which advocates for the end of practices such as mandatory non-disclosure agreements.

DiZoglio has been keeping the pressure on her colleagues for NDA reform since March 2018, when the then-representative revealed on the House floor that she had signed an NDA to receive severance pay after she was let go from a job as an aide. She said then that she had signed the agreement “under duress” and that she was fired because of discredited rumors about inappropriate behavior.

The House rejected DiZoglio’s attempt to impose a ban on NDAs two years ago, and voted instead to limit their use to cases when the NDA is requested by the victim of sexual harassment. At the start of this legislative session, in January 2019, the Senate voted to ban the use of NDAs.

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