John McLaughlin, the stalwart political commentator who created television’s “McLaughlin Group,” died Tuesday at his home in Virginia. He was 89.
His death came less than two days after he missed the first episode of his show in 34 years.
“As a former Jesuit priest, teacher, pundit and news host, John touched many lives,” the show’s producers wrote on Facebook.
A Man of Much Mendacity, McLaughlin had a rather lively personal history that included to wives (here he is with number two)
“He’s very sad about it, but it’s something he needed to do,” his attorney Gregory Nugent told us. The TV punditry pioneer, 83, referred inquiries to his lawyer; we couldn’t reach his ex, 49, for comment.
They met in a bookstore in 1990, the story went, and the former Jesuit priest later hired the young Dominican-born Cristina Vidal to work at the “McLaughlin Group” production company. About five years after his contentious divorce from former labor secretary Ann Dore, they wed in June 1997 at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Georgetown. She was nearly half his age.
“He will be a great father,” she told The Post at the time. (They did not go on to have children.) Said he: “She’s very bright, animated, she reads voraciously and . . . she’s a great lover.”
Well she certainly needed to be in light of the charges.
Linda D. Dean, 35, of Alexandria, Va., was executive assistant at McLaughlin’s Oliver Productions — which produces his weekly talk show ‘The McLaughlin Group’ — from December 1987 until April 15.
A report in today’s Washington Post said Dean’s suit, filed in Thursday in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., alleges McLaughlin fired Dean from her job in ‘retaliation for her protests of sex discrimination and sexual harassment toward herself and other women’ who worked in the office.
The Post said the suit also charges that McLaughlin, 60, once told Dean ‘that he ‘needed a lot of sex’ and that he ‘needed a mistress’ but that a man in his position had to be careful,’ to which Dean allegedly responded ‘that that was his own business.’
Dean’s suit further alleges that McLaughlin made advances to Dean ‘on several occasions’ — touching her ‘intimately against her will, and in the face of her open attempts to avoid and evade his touches.’
McLaughlin, a former Jesuit priest and Nixon speech writer who has been married since 1975 to U.S. Labor Secretary Ann Dore McLaughlin, had no immediate comment on the suit.
However, McLaughlin’s attorney, former White House counsel Fred Fielding, issued a statement:
‘John McLaughlin and Oliver Productions emphatically deny these bizarre and outrageous allegations, and will seek swift disposition of this matter through the judicial system. We will have no further public comment on these allegations or on the possible motivations of the plaintiff until that time.’
According to the suit, the McLaughlin office was ‘a work environment which was hostile to women’ and the talk show host made ‘sexually degrading and offensive remarks and behavior … toward both present and past female employees.’
Dean, who now works as an executive secretary at the Washington office of the Touche Ross accounting firm, is seeking $1 million in compensatory damages of McLaughlin and Oliver Productions jointly with $1.5 million in punitive damages of each defendant.
‘The McLaughlin Group’ airs weekly on 230 public television stations and on four stations owned and operated by NBC, including WRC-TV (Channel 4), the network’s Washington affiliate, where the show is taped each Friday.
A spokesman for General Electric Co., which owns NBC and sponsors McLaughlin’s show, said Thursday the company had not seen the suit.
‘Until we’ve seen it, we would not want to comment,’ he said.
As you can well imagine it was “settled out of court”
As SoCali noted April 23, 2010 10:44 AM
There was another Vidal in Mclaughlin’s life back when he was a Jesuit. During an appearance on David Susskind’s show, where he delivered his usual round of mendacious blather, Maclaughlin was admonished “Lies priest — look to thy immortal soul!”
The admoniosher was Gore Vidal.
Eugene was doubtless aware of the value a randy heterosexual ex-priest had on Public television, pushing “Conservatism.” Needless to say he was never invited on the show.
Dionne Warwick will sing us out.