Fox News and stars Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson and Ed Henry accused of sexual harassment in new lawsuit
The hosts are are alleged to have created a toxic atmosphere of assault and retaliation at the network
Fox News and its prominent stars Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson, Howard Kurtz and the recently fired Ed Henry are being sued as part of a sex trafficking, sexual harassment, and retaliation suit.
Former Fox business network producer Jennifer Eckhart and former Fox News channel guest Cathy Areu filed the lawsuit in a New York federal court on Monday, CNBC reported. They allege that that Fox News “cultivated and fostered sexual harassment and misconduct.” Henry is specifically accused of rape.
Furthermore, it is claimed that the Rupert Murdoch-owned empire has rewarded those who have abused their power.
The accusers are demanding a jury trial and insist that the culture at Fox News has not changed despite previous statements to the contrary following the dismissal of Roger Ailes.
The former CEO and chairman of Fox News who made “fair and balanced” a marquee phrase for the network resigned in 2016 after multiple women, including then Fox personalities Megyn Kelly and Gretchen Carlson, accused him of sexual harassment.
Ailes died a year later and Fox declared that things would change. The lawsuit contends that did not happen.
“Unfortunately, it is actually worse,” the filing states.
Eckhart claims she was raped by Henry after refusing his advances.
“Mr. Henry not only leveraged this imbalance of power for control over his victim, Ms. Eckhart, but asked her to be his ‘sex slave’ and his ‘little whore,’ and threatened punishment and retaliation if Ms. Eckhart did not comply with his sexual demands,” the suit declares.
The suit further describes that, “when she would not comply voluntarily, he sexually assaulted her on office property, and raped her at a hotel where Fox News frequently lodged its visiting employees.”
Eckhart also alleges that Henry took sexually compromising pictures of her and used them to intimidate her and “for purposes of blackmail that could destroy her career.”
Henry, who joined the network in 2011, was fired in June by Fox News over sexual misconduct allegations. The suit insists that executives at Fox knew of the allegations dating back to 2017. Areu also says she was victimized by Henry who sent her “a slew of wildly inappropriate sexual images and messages.”
Areu also accuses Hannity, Carlson, Kurtz and African American political analyst Gianno Caldwell of inappropriate sexual harassment and retaliation. She was allegedly subjected to unwanted advances and humiliated by Hannity, who allegedly offered staffers $100 to date her.
Areu alleges that after she refused Kurtz’ and Carlson’s advances, her appearances on Fox ceased.
“Fox News would have the public believe that it is a different place from the Fox News that was run by former disgraced Chairman and CEO Roger Ailes,” the suit says.
Fox denied any impropriety in a statement and promised a virgorous defense for itself and those who are accused.
“Based on the findings of a comprehensive independent investigation conducted by an outside law firm, including interviews with numerous eyewitnesses, we have determined that all of Cathy Areu’s claims against FOX News, including its management as well as its hosts Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity & Howard Kurtz and its contributor Gianno Caldwell, are false, patently frivolous and utterly devoid of any merit,” the statement said.
“We take all claims of harassment, misconduct and retaliation seriously, promptly investigating them and taking immediate action as needed — in this case, the appropriate action based on our investigation is to defend vigorously against these baseless allegations. Ms. Areu and Jennifer Eckhart can pursue their claims against Ed Henry directly with him, as FOX News already took swift action as soon as it learned of Ms. Eckhart’s claims on June 25 and Mr. Henry is no longer employed by the network.”
“There were not sexual harassment claims against Ed Henry at FOX News prior to Jennifer Eckhart’s claim on June 25, 2020.”
Henry previously denied the accusations through an attorney, Catherine Foti, but there has been no new comment in response to these latest charges.
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