Two women – including one former Fox News employee – are accusing some of the network’s most popular on-air anchors of sexual harassment. According to numerous reports, a new federal lawsuit that was filed on Monday accuses Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson, Howard Kurtz, Gianno Caldwell, and the recently-fired Ed Henry of sexual misconduct that ranges from inappropriate comments to rape.
The Washington Examiner is reporting that Jennifer Eckhart – a former associate producer on Fox Business – and Cathy Areu, a regular network guest referred to as “the liberal Sherpa,” are the two plaintiffs who filed the lawsuit.
A woman claims in court that ex-Fox host Ed Henry "violently raped" her. Another accuses Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson and Howard Kurtz of harassment.
— Adam Klasfeld (@KlasfeldReports) July 20, 2020
In the suit, Eckhart accuses Henry of having “preyed upon, manipulated, and groomed [her] starting at the young age of 24, by exerting his abuse of power over her and her career.”
“Ms. Eckhart’s counsel also explained to Fox News, in graphic and specific detail, that Ms. Eckhart was violently raped while helpless and restrained in metal handcuffs, as Mr. Henry performed sadistic acts on her without her consent that left her injured, bruised and battered with bloody wrists,” the lawsuit said.
The lawsuit also claims Henry took nude photos of Eckhart and restrained her without her consent. This was described as “an intimidation tactic to silence her,” and she claims Henry kept the pics for “purposes of blackmail that could destroy her career.”
— Law & Crime (@lawcrimenews) July 20, 2020
Fox News fired Henry earlier this month after they received her sexual misconduct complaint against him. However, Eckhart claims that the network didn’t discipline Henry when they were first informed of his inappropriate behavior. She says they only fired him when they realized they could be looking at a “public relations nightmare.”
Areu also claims Henry harassed her and repeatedly sent her explicit messages. She says that the former America’s Newsroom co-anchor offered to help her career if she accepted his sexual advances.
Another Areu allegation in the lawsuit is that Hannity encouraged a man in March 2018 to take her out on a date, and he paid him $100 to do so. Areu also claims that both Carlson and Kurtz tried to get her into their respective hotel rooms at different times in 2018 and 2019. And, she says that Caldwell repeatedly attempted to start a relationship with her despite her rejections.
In a statement, Fox News said that they hired an outside law firm to conduct a comprehensive independent investigation, and they concluded that Cathy Areu’s claims against Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, Howard Kurtz, and Gianno Caldwell are “false, patently frivolous and utterly devoid of any merit.”
Former Fox business producer Jennifer Eckhart says in a new lawsuit that host Ed Henry raped her and "psychologically manipulated and coerced" her into a sexual relationship beginning when she was 24.
Eckhart says Fox ignored her complaints. https://t.co/ZfQnKzSFDX
— Eliza Relman (@eliza_relman) July 20, 2020
“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,” said the network. “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.”