Tomi Lahren, a fiery, fast-talking rising star in conservative media, on Friday sued her employer and its founder, the right-wing media personality Glenn Beck, claiming they fired her to retaliate after she revealed her support for abortion rights.
In a March 17 appearance on the ABC show “The View,” Ms. Lahren, 24, told the hosts that she believed in limited government in all aspects and that she supported the right to have an abortion. “I’m for limited government,” she said, “so stay out of my guns, and you can stay out of my body as well.”
With a flair for making inflammatory comments, Ms. Lahren (whose first name is pronounced “Tommy”) has charted a steady rise in conservative media and gained more than 5 million followers on social media, where some of her video commentaries have been viewed millions of times. Her confrontational style and tendency to say shocking things — she claimed President Barack Obama cared more about appeasing Muslims than caring for fallen Marines — made her a star of conservative commentary.
But her remarks on “The View” did not sit well with executives at The Blaze — a website, TV station and subscription service — and its founder, Mr. Beck, the former Fox News host and radio personality. Her appearance on “The View” aired on a Friday, and on that Sunday, The Blaze said her nightly television show, “Tomi,” would be suspended.
The Blaze said in a statement on Friday that Ms. Lahren was still employed and questioned how she could sue for wrongful termination. A lawyer representing her said that she was still being paid but that The Blaze had told her she no longer had a job. They are asking in the lawsuit for The Blaze to allow her to pursue employment elsewhere.
In the days following her remarks on “The View,” she and Mr. Beck clashed on Twitter. He mocked her for saying she was a libertarian and shared a video clip of her from December saying that “abortion is not a positive thing.” He also wrote that he supported a diversity of opinions among employees at The Blaze and that no employees would be fired for their point of view.
Ms. Lahren alleges in her lawsuit, filed in Dallas County Civil Court, that the company’s human resources director told her a few days after the suspension that she was now terminated. Her corporate email was turned off, yellow caution tape was stretched over her office and she was urged to “go dark” on social media. In addition, the suit claims that Mr. Beck and others at The Blaze were trying to sabotage her reputation and career. They have “embarked on a public smear campaign,” it says.
“It was made very clear to her she was being terminated for what she said on ‘The View,’” Brian P. Lauten, a lawyer in Dallas who is representing her, said in an interview on Friday. “They have to have cause, and not liking what a lady’s personal views are about the social, political and moral issue of abortion is not grounds to terminate someone.”
In its statement on Friday, The Blaze, which is based outside Dallas in Irving, Tex., said Ms. Lahren had not lost her job. “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,” the company said.
Mr. Lauten said The Blaze was trying to “put the bullet back in the gun” after telling Ms. Lahren in March that she no longer had a job. “As long as she is under that agreement, she cannot do anything,” he said. Her contract expires in September.
Ms. Lahren started to burnish her reputation as a conservative commentator in her first job out of college, as host on One America News Network. Despite the network’s limited reach, her commentaries, called “Final Thoughts,” found a sizable audience online.
On Friday, Ms. Lahren said on Twitter that she had another final thought: “Lay down and play dead really isn’t my style.”
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