Fox News has been hit with a lawsuit alleging sexual misconduct by its top executives and employees.
On Monday, a complaint was filed in the New York federal court alleging sexual misconduct by some of its longtime employees, including #SeanHannity and #TuckerCarlson, The Hollywood Reporter reports. The lawsuit comes from #JenniferEckhart, a former associate producer on Fox Business Network, and the suit’s co-plaintiff. In the document, she alleges that she was raped by White House chief correspondent #EdHenry, who was fired by Fox News earlier this month. The other co-plaintiff is #CathyAreu, who claims the company provided a hostile work environment to women workers.
“On July 1, 2020, Fox News disclosed to the public that it had terminated Mr. Henry based on the findings of an internal investigation, and purported to take credit for acting appropriately,” the complaint from the women reads. “However, nothing could be further from the truth. In reality, Fox News knew that Mr. Henry had engaged in sexual misconduct as far back as early 2017. 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.”
Eckhart was allegedly raped back in 2017 while in a hotel room after the two met up for drinks. Two years prior, Henry allegedly tried to romance the woman by forcing a kiss on her and convinced her to have sex with him in order to keep her career. She adds in the document that Henry assaulted her months later in Fox News’ New York offices. In response, Catherine Foti, Henry’s lawyer, said, “The evidence, in this case, will demonstrate that Ms. Eckhart initiated and completely encouraged a consensual relationship.”
Areu says Henry sexually harassed her via a “slew of wildly inappropriate sexual images and messages.” She claims Henry once threw $100 on the desk of his set and told the men around them to use the money to take her on a date. Along with Henry, Areu names several other well-known Fox News employees and execs. She accuses #howardKurtz of inviting her to his hotel room. After turning down advances on a number of occasions, Areu says that’s when Fox News workers stopped asking her to appear on programs.
On top of rape and other misconduct allegations, the network now has a sex trafficking claim against them due to Eckhart’s allegations. However, the company has responded to the suit and claims by suggesting that Areu and Eckhart pursued Henry. “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 reads. “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.”
Since then, a spokesperson for the network has released a statement, saying, “There were not sexual harassment claims against Ed Henry at FOX News prior to Jennifer Eckhart’s claim on June 25, 2020.”