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A sexual harassment lawsuit filed against Fox News hosts appears to be falling apart as inconsistencies have emerged in the claims made by Cathy Areu.
Newly obtained emails and eyewitness accounts have cast doubt on the accusations made by the once-frequent guest on the network in a lawsuit that alleged sexual misconduct by Fox News hosts, including Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity and Howard Kurtz, as well as Ed Henry, who was fired this month after allegations by a former employee.
Fox News Channel had initially called out as “completely false” the claims in the lawsuit filed on Monday in the Southern District of New York that Areu had been harassed by Carlson, Hannity and others, and then not invited back as a guest after rejecting their sexual advances.
But inconsistencies in the details emerged as eyewitness accounts and emails between Areu and Fox News employees that were obtained by Mediaite appear to tell a different story and are further undermining the claims.
Areu alleged in the lawsuit that Carlson invited her to his hotel room following her “final 2018 appearance” on his program just before a company Christmas party.
But an investigation by The Spectator’s Amber Athey revealed that the network’s annual Christmas party was held on December 10 but Areu’s final appearance with Carlson was actually on November 30. She appeared again on “Tucker Carlson Tonight” on December 28 but that night’s program was guest-hosted by Mark Steyn.
“The incident with Tucker Carlson actually occurred on Nov. 30, not Dec. 10,” Michael Willemin, an attorney for Areu, told Mediaite. “Ms. Areu misrecollected that the incident occurred in December because it occurred following a winter/Christmas segment. It is entirely possible that she appeared on Dec. 28, although she doesn’t have a specific recollection of that and if she did appear, it was not in Mr. Carlson’s physical presence.”
“Following the show,” the lawsuit asserted, “Mr. Carlson, hardly making any effort to hide his intentions, began telling Ms. Areu that he would be alone in New York City that night, and specifically said that he would be staying alone in his hotel room without any wife or kids.”
But Fox News noted that Carlson not only hosted the party for his staff that night, his wife was alongside him for the event. Athey confirmed that information in an interview on the Hammer and Nigel Show Wednesday.
“So Cathy’s claim that Tucker told her he was going to be staying alone in his hotel room that night without his wife and kids seems very suspect,” she said, adding that Areu’s lawyers had admitted to The Spectator that they had made some errors in their filings.
“They couldn’t even get their basic facts straight,” Athey said, adding that there were “so many inconsistencies” that they “finally had to admit that they got [dates and crucial details] wrong.”
“I know Tucker fairly well, I’ve interacted with him on numerous occasions, and I can say unequivocally that he is one of the most decent men in cable news – especially with how he treats women,” Athey said. “And he loves his family very much.”
“So when I heard about this allegation, that’s when I decided to investigate – because it sounded so out of character for the Tucker Carlson that I and so many of my colleagues at the Daily Caller knew.”
Areu had also spoken warmly of Carlson following the alleged incident.
Thank you for your support! Yes, TC has always been polite to me! pic.twitter.com/ZBJhAqtcnU
— Cathy Areu (@AreuCathy) October 24, 2019
Fox News also exposed the claims Areu made about not being invited back on the shows as a punishment were not true, noting that she made the same number of appearances following the alleged incidents as she had in the same time frame the year before.
“There is zero evidence of retaliation,” the network told Mediaite.
Communications between Areu and Fox News employees also shot some holes in her allegations against Hannity that after her appearance on his show on March 8, 2018, “on set and in front of the entire studio crew – and completely unsolicited – threw $100 on the set desk,” according to the lawsuit. He then allegedly called out for someone to take her “out on a date for drinks at Del Friscos.”
“Thankfully, none of the staff cooperated with Mr. Hannity, even after he repeatedly chided one particular male employee for being ‘afraid to take out a beautiful woman,’” the lawsuit stated.
However, that particular male friend had been invited on set by Areu, according to emails reviewed by Mediaite.
“Is it ok for me to bring a guest?” Areu reportedly wrote in the email to a Fox News staffer that day, referring to the guest as “Alex.,” and adding, “He’s my good luck charm. He does yoga. Very calming. I run. I’m nuts.”
“Haha of course! No problem at all – will add him to the security list,” the staffer replied.
Hannity had, in fact, gifted Areu and her friend the $100 for them to get drinks after the appearance, according to Fox News and Areu even thanked the host and his staff for the gesture in follow-up emails.
“Thanks so much for having me on. Way too much fun,” she wrote in one email at 10:37 that evening.
“Please thank Sean for a fun evening,” Areu wrote in a second message at 6:39 the next morning, adding a photo of the drink. “He shouldn’t have! … but We did exactly as he and Alex’s had bet. Down to the pineapple martini.”
And despite Areu’s claims that she was barred from returning to the show because she did not “play along,” Fox News has revealed that in fact, she made nine appearances on “Hannity” between the date of the alleged incident and the following July 2019. Further, Fox News noted that Areu thanked Hannity again on one of those occasions and the host once again “gave her and the same friend money for another round of drinks,” according to Mediaite.
Other emails and messages from Areu have shed doubts on her claims, including those against MediaBuzz anchor Howard Kurtz who refused to have dinner with her but offered to meet in a hotel lobby to discuss career questions, later ignoring her messages when she became aggressive.
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