The week started off a bit rocky for a former Fox News host along with several other high-profile hosts after a civil lawsuit was filed against the men accusing them of rape, sexual misconduct, and harassment [Source: NPR]. NPR reported that Ed Henry, Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson, and Howard Kurtz are some of the individuals named as defendants in the lawsuit that was filed by Jennifer Eckhart in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. Eckhart is a former associate producer at Fox Business.
In Eckhart’s complaint, she not only accuses Henry of “suggesting [that] he could help advance her career in exchange for sex,” but she also says that he “preyed upon, manipulated, and groomed her, coercing her into sexual intercourse.” Eckhart also included in the lawsuit that in 2015, Henry “forced her to perform oral sex on him at the Fox News building in New York.” She also accused Henry of “handcuffing her as part of a violent, painful rape,” in a Manhattan hotel room in 2017.
The co-plaintiff in the complaint, Cathy Areu, also accused Henry of sending her a “slew of wildly inappropriate sexual images and messages” which included “photographs and video. Areu also claims Henry sent her a number of text messages that suggested she engage in sexual relations with him.
The allegations don’t end there.
Aside from the inappropriate messages and videos Areu claims she received, she also says that after she turned down the advances made by Carson and Hannity, both retaliated against her by reducing the number of times she appeared on their shows.
Fox News Addresses the Complaint
After the lawsuit went public, Fox News, which is no stranger to sexual harassment allegations, issued a statement saying that the complaint is “false, patently frivolous, and utterly devoid of any merit.” Henry’s attorney also responded to the civil suit by saying “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. This is not one of those cases. The evidence in this case will demonstrate that Ms. Eckhart initiated and completely encouraged a consensual relationship.”
While it isn’t clear what impact the lawsuit will have on Hannity, Carlson, and Kurtz’s career at Fox News, NPR did report that Fox News announced on July 1st that the news channel had fired Henry “after investigating an accusation of sexual misconduct against him by a former employee.”
Are you a victim of sexual misconduct but are afraid to speak out?
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