Lawsuit alleging sexual misconduct by top talent
Fox News has been hit with a kitchen sink suit, replete with trigger warning, as a complaint was filed on Monday in New York federal court alleging sexual misconduct by some of its top hosts including Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson.
Jennifer Eckhart, identifying herself as a freelance administrative assistant to Fox Business anchor Liz Claman, is a co-plaintiff in the suit. The most serious claim pertains to Eckhart's allegation that she was raped by Ed Henry, who earlier this month was fired by Fox News as a result of the charge.
"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," states the complaint.
"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."
Fox News now faces a sex trafficking claim as a result of Eckhart's rape allegation.
Cathy Areu is the other co-plaintiff in this case that also asserts Fox News subjected women to a hostile workplace.
Once an on-air regular on Fox News, Areu says she victimized by Henry through a "slew of wildly inappropriate sexual images and messages." The complaint details the contents of these messages.
Additionally, Areu targets several of Fox News' other stars. She alleges that Hannity once threw $100 on the desk of his set and called for the men around to take her on a date for drinks.
She says that Carlson once probed to see whether she'd be interested in a sexual relationship.
She accuses Howard Kurtz of inviting her to a hotel room.
After allegedly spurning advances or enduring comments, Areu says she stopped being invited to appear on each of their respective programs. The three Fox News hosts are co-defendants in the suit and face claims of retaliation.
Notably, the plaintiffs are represented by Douglas Wigdor and Michael Willemin at Wigdor LLP. Two years ago, Wigdor settled claims by more than 20 individuals against Fox. Many of those suits targeted behavior by Fox News founder Roger Ailes.
Here's the full complaint
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