Another lawsuit filed in connection to harassment claims against radio host Eric Ferguson
A woman who accused radio host Eric Ferguson of creating an “unbearable” work environment has filed a defamation lawsuit against the radio station’s parent company claiming it either never looked into her claims or the investigation was a “sham.”
Melissa McGurren, former morning co-host on WTMX 101.9-FM, worked at the Hubbard Radio Chicago station that’s more popularly known as The Mix for more than two decades before leaving in 2020.
McGurren left her job because she could no longer stand Ferguson’s harassment and management’s refusal to do anything about it, according to the lawsuit filed Thursday in Cook County Circuit Court.
“It’s become clear that the problems at The Mix go much deeper than a radio personality that behaved very badly for a long time. Hubbard Radio Chicago perpetuated the culture that made a toxic workplace possible. They cannot lie their way out of this problem. We will hold them accountable,” said McGurren’s attorney Carmen Caruso.
An attorney for Hubbard Radio Chicago didn’t immediately respond to a message seeking comment.
McGurren’s harassment claims became public in recent weeks when they were included in a separate defamation lawsuit filed against Hubbard by another former female co-host, Cynthia DeNicolo. DeNicolo in May filed a lawsuit against Ferguson accusing him of coercing her into performing sexual favors.
DeNicolo’s defamation suit included a copy of a complaint McGurren filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in which McGurren detailed Ferguson’s demeaning behavior and called him a “serial abuser of women.” DeNicolo is also represented by Caruso.
As McGurren’s claims began to generate media coverage earlier this month, Hubbard Radio sent a note to employees of The Mix stating the company had “thoroughly investigated this matter previously. Suffice it to say that we do not agree with Melissa’s characterization of events.”
McGurren’s defamation suit claims the statement falsely calls her “a liar” and attacks her credibility and integrity.
McGurren’s suit claims Hubbard’s investigation “was never conducted or, at a minimum, was a sham investigation.”
To back this claim, McGurren’s suit includes a statement from a third former co-host, Jennifer Ashrafi, who says she warned a Hubbard executive before she left the station in January 2020 of the toxic and hostile work environment toward women that existed on The Mix’s morning shows.
McGurren filed her EEOC complaint months later, in December 2020. Hubbard never interviewed Ashrafi as part of its investigation, according to the lawsuit.
McGurren’s suit claims the false statements against her by Hubbard were made so the company could “continue to keep a serial sexual abuser employed and profit from Ferguson’s show ‘Eric in the Morning’ at the expense of Melissa and all other women whom Ferguson has abused and exploited.”
Another woman, former sales employee Kristen Mori, said in a court document that Ferguson groped her at a station Christmas party in 2003. That statement, along with other allegations of misconduct, was included in DeNicolo’s lawsuit filed in May.