The now-fired Fox News host Ed Henry as well current hosts Sean Hannity, and Tucker Carlson, are all part of a new lawsuit that alleges misconduct by all three men.
“It is widely documented in the public record that Fox News has not only cultivated and fostered sexual harassment and misconduct but has consistently accepted and rewarded it,” a newly filed sex trafficking, sexual harassment, gender discrimination and retaliation lawsuit from Jennifer Eckhart, a former Fox Business Network associate producer and Cathy Areu a former FNC guest. The lawsuit was filed on Monday against the news outlet, which is owned by Rupert Murdoch.
“Nevertheless, 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 lawsuit adds. It also notes the many accusations that were made against the fired and now deceased former producer of the “Mike Douglas Show,”
“Unfortunately, it is actually worse,” the suit filed in New York federal court alleges.
“As described in detail herein, Fox News continues to protect and reward perpetrators of sexual harassment and refuses to take accountability for putting such persons in positions of power from which they can subject women to sexual misconduct, sexual assault and, in the case of Ms. Eckhart, rape,” the suit reads.
“Some of the names in leadership may have changed since Roger Ailes’ regime, but Fox News’ institutional apathy towards sexual misconduct has not.”
A Fox News spokesperson responded to the lawsuit by stating, “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.”
“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,” the spokesperson added. “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 are no longer employed by the network.”
Catherine Foti, Ed Henry’s attorney, issued the following statement on Henry’s behalf.
“The Me-Too movement has helped to bring to light a number of injustices in our society, and everyone that has suffered deserves to be heard,” the statement reads. “This is not one of those cases. The evidence, in this case, will demonstrate that Ms. Eckhart initiated and completely encouraged a consensual relationship. Ed Henry looks forward to presenting actual facts and evidence, which will contradict the fictional accounts contained in the complaint. That evidence includes graphic photos and other aggressively suggestive communications that Ms. Eckhart sent to Mr. Henry.”
Only Henry is mentioned in the sex trafficking claim.
Henry was fired back on July 1 after reports were made of “willful sexual misconduct in the workplace years ago” that misconduct was associated with Jennifer Eckhart.
Monday’s lawsuit from lawyers Douglas Wigdor and Michael J. Willemin calls the move to fire Henry and claim the success of an independent investigation was Fox News “trying to avoid taking accountability for what actually happened; namely, that one of its most prominent on-air personalities — with a history of multiple sexual harassment complaints – sexually assaulted and raped Ms. Eckhart.”
“Moreover, the investigator did not even speak with either of our clients, even though both Ms. Eckhart and Ms. Areu offered to meet with him under reasonable conditions,” the attorneys said in a statement.
“We call on Fox News to work with our clients to retain a truly independent investigator who is transparent. The results of any such investigation should be made public for the world to see,” the statement continues.
“In reality, Fox News knew that Mr. Henry had engaged in sexual misconduct as far back as early 2017,” Monday’s complaint propounds. “At that time, when Fox News was conducting a company-wide investigation into issues of sexual harassment, multiple women came forward to complain that Mr. Henry had engaged in sexually inappropriate conduct towards them.”
The document continues with extremely explicit descriptions of both sexual assault and rape that Henry is accused of by Eckhart.
The lawsuit also details Carlson allegedly propositioning Areu in December 2018. “Mr. Carlson, hardly making any effort to hide his intentions, began telling Ms. Areu that he would be alone in New York City that night, and specifically said that he would be staying alone in his hotel room without any wife or kids,” the document states. It adds that Areu,“awkwardly sidestepped Mr. Carlson’s advances and declined to spend the night at his hotel.”
The lawsuit claims that her rejection of Carlson led to her long run on “Tucker Carlson Tonight” ending.
“According to Mr. Carlson’s producer, it is Mr. Carlson himself who consistently rejects proposals to have Ms. Areu on his show, notwithstanding the fact that her segments were, or were among, his most popular,” the filing notes.
“Indeed, as a decades-tenured cameraman explained to Ms. Areu, it is well known that the way for women to get ahead at Fox News is to sleep with the male anchors and executives.”
The document then lists alleged incidents of varying nature that involved Hannity, Carlson, Kurtz, and Henry.