Fox News refused to air Stormy Daniels story before 2016 election: report

During one of the crucial moments of the 2016 campaign season, a major story emerged — but no one reported on it

By Matthew Rozsa

Staff Writer

Published January 17, 2018 10:56AM (EST)

Stormy Daniels (Getty/Ethan Miller)
Stormy Daniels (Getty/Ethan Miller)

A new report reveals that during the 2016 presidential election Fox News sat on a story about an alleged sexual relationship between Donald Trump and a porn star.

Roughly one month before the election, Fox News reporter Diana Falzone filed a story with the network, roughly on the alleged relationship between Stephanie Clifford — known as adult film actress Stormy Daniels — and Trump, according to CNN. Falzone had obtained information that she believed had made the story publishable, including an on-the-record statement from Clifford's then-manager Gina Rodriguez about Clifford having a sexual relationship with Trump and emails regarding a financial settlement to stop Clifford from publicly discussing it.

But Fox News killed the story before it could be published. Falzone has since then filed a lawsuit against the network, claiming to have been victimized by gender discrimination, in an ongoing case.

"Like many other outlets, we were working to report the story of Stephanie Clifford's account in October 2016 about then-Presidential candidate Donald Trump and a possible payment by Trump lawyer Michael Cohen," Noah Kotch, the editor-in-chief and vice president of Fox News digital since 2017, explained in a statement to CNN. "In doing our due diligence, we were unable to verify all of the facts and publish a story."

The alleged relationship between Trump and Clifford was revived last week after it was reported that Michael Cohen, a lawyer for Trump, had arranged a payment of $130,000 to the porn star in return for her silence about the alleged affair, according to The Wall Street Journal. The sexual encounter was believed to have occurred in July 2006, roughly one year after Trump married his third and current wife, Melania.

By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer at Salon. He received a Master's Degree in History from Rutgers-Newark in 2012 and was awarded a science journalism fellowship from the Metcalf Institute in 2022.

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Donald Trump Fox News Stormy Daniels