A Fox Sports anchor has filed a lawsuit against his former employer that claims he was fired for opposing gay marriage. The Senior Vice-President for Communications and spokesperson for Fox Sports, Lou D’Ermilio, told the Dallas Morning News that anchor Craig James was terminated from Fox Sports Southwest because of his religious beliefs about same-sex marriage. However, he has since backtracked on those statements and declared they were false. That isn’t stopping James from moving forward on the lawsuit though, citing religious employment discrimination for his firing.
James made his comments about gay marriage while running for the U.S. Senate in 2012 and was allegedly fired in 2013 when the comments resurfaced. In a recent sworn deposition, Fox Sports President Eric Shanks said D’Ermilio made “false statements” and was unclear as to why that happened. He also acknowledged that an investigation into the statements had not been conducted. But an attorney for James said that while it’s clear either Shanks or D’Ermilio is lying, Fox Sports is still responsible regardless.
“[The] firing of Craig James because of his sincerely held religious beliefs concerning marriage, beliefs held by millions of Americans, constitutes religious discrimination that violates the law,” said Jeff Mateer, general counsel for the Institute. “Someone’s not telling the truth. This action will get to the bottom of those contentions.” Fox Sports will reportedly defend themselves by arguing that because James was fired after only one appearance and hadn’t formally signed a contract, he couldn’t technically be fired by them.
During his 2012 U.S. Senate run, James finished fourth out of nine candidates in the Republican primary, receiving about four percent of the vote.