Sexual harassment suit against Fox News includes Hannity, Tucker, Henry and accusations of rape. Credible or hit job?

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Jennifer Eckhart Cathy Areu sexual harassment rape lawsuit fox
Cathy Areu and Jennifer Eckhart filed a joint lawsuit against Fox News, with Areu accusing Tucker Carlson and Hannity of sexual harassment. Eckhart, meanwhile, accused former FNC reporter Ed Henry of rape. (screenshot/Instagram)

Fox News denied the “patently false” sexual harassment claims leveled against Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, Howard Kurtz and Gianno Caldwell after Jennifer Eckhart — an on-air personality — and guest commentator Cathy Areu filed a joint lawsuit.

In their federal lawsuit (see below), Areu and Eckhart accuse Fox News of “sex trafficking,” sexual harassment, gender discrimination, and retaliation.

In a wide-ranging complaint designed to confuse their separate claims, Jennifer Eckhart ⁠— who apparently had a sexual relationship with Ed Henry dating back to 2014 ⁠— accused Henry of rape. It’s unclear why Eckhart stayed silent until now.

Meanwhile, Cathy Areu accused Ed Henry, Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, Howard Kurtz, and Gianno Caldwell of sexually harassing her at various times. Again: It’s unclear why she never spoke out before her lawsuit.

In a statement, Fox News said an independent investigation ⁠conducted by an outside law firm concluded that Areu’s claims are “patently false and frivolous.”

As to Jennifer Eckhart’s rape accusation against Ed Henry, Fox News underscored that it fired Henry in June.

Accordingly, Eckhart should pursue her claims against him separately and not target Fox News simply because it’s the deep-pocketed Defendant.

Complaint – STAMPED by paulfarrell1895 on Scribd

Fox News said: “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 and Howard Kurtz and its contributor Gianno Caldwell, are false, patently frivolous and utterly devoid of any merit.”

FNC continued: “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.”

Jennifer Eckhart’s claims are against former Fox News reporter Ed Henry, while Areu targets Tucker, Hannity, Kurtz, Henry, and Caldwell.

(Source: Twitter)

Naturally, the media coverage hyped the salacious parts of Eckhart’s rape claim against Henry.

In her part of the lawsuit, Eckhart claims Henry coerced her into a sexual relationship beginning in 2014.

Since then, Eckhart apparently had sex with Henry numerous times. She showed several text messages where the two engaged in sadomasochistic dialogue.

Tellingly, Eckhart did not show her replies to the numerous S&M texts that Henry sent her (he couldn’t have sent multiple messages to her unless she responded).

This omission undermines Eckhart’s claims that her six-year sexual relationship with Henry was entirely coerced.

ed henry rape lawsuit text messages Jennifer Eckhart

Eckhart claims that Henry began flirting with her in 2014 and then had sex with him at a hotel room, where she claims Henry “ripped off her clothes.”

Jennifer claims she had sex with Henry because she “feared that her career would be over if she refused.” At the time, Henry was a low-level reporter with no management authority to make or break anyone’s career at Fox News.

Eckhart then stayed silent about her alleged rape for six years.

After the alleged 2014 rape, Eckhart claims Henry forced her to perform oral sex on him in September 2015 inside a Fox News guest office.

jennifer eckhart photos
Jennifer Eckhart/Twitter

Ed Henry’s lawyer, Catherine Foti, denied the allegations, calling them yet another example of someone exploiting the “Me Too” trend to cash in.

Foti says Henry has explicit photos and texts showing Eckhart was involved in a consensual sexual dalliance with Ed.

“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.

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.”

As for Cathy Areu, her claims of sexual harassment against Sean Hannity include a flippant remark where Hannity joked that he would give one of his staffers $100 to take Areu out on a date.

Areu also claimed that Howard Kurtz asked her to meet him in the lobby of his hotel and that Tucker hinted that he would be alone in a hotel room.

She alleges that when she refused to go to their rooms, they retaliated against her by not booking anymore on their shows. According to Areu, this had nothing to do with her incoherent commentary.

Here’s a tweet of Cathy praising Tucker. Areu gushed: “TC (Tucker Carlson) has always been polite to me!”

Former Fox News host Gretchen Carlson said she stands with Jennifer Eckhart and Cathy Areu, calling them “immensely brave women.”

Carlson tweeted: “I stand with Jennifer Eckhart and CathyAreu, two immensely brave women who now have their voices heard. I know how hard it is to come forward w/allegations. We won’t cower in a corner anymore. We are standing up, we are fierce and being heard.”

Carlson was a Fox News host from 2005 until 2016. In July 2016, she filed a lawsuit against then-CEO Roger Ailes claiming he sexually harassed her and retaliated after she refused his advances.

Gretchen Carlson said she was sexually harassed at Fox News, where she worked from 2005 to 2016. (screengrabs)

Ailes resigned less than a week after Carlson’s lawsuit, which she settled for $20 million in September 2016. Ailes died in May 2017 at age 77 after a fall in his home.

Gretchen Carlson has since been praised by former Bill Clinton mistress Monica Lewinsky, who called Carlson brave for outing Ailes’ abusive behavior.

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Samantha Chang

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