The Fox News Channel accused of sex trafficking: What to know
A civil case has just been launched against the Fox News Network, Ed Henry, Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson, and Howard Kurtz – as the official document says it, “in their individual and professional capacities”. The two plaintiffs are Jennifer Eckhart and Cathy Areu – Eckhart used to work for Fox Business and Areu works as a journalist.
The lawsuit alleges, “Fox News continues to protect and reward perpetrators of sexual harassment and refuses to take accountability for putting such persons in positions of power”. The official document also includes images of text messages Eckhart received.
In fact, some of the information in the lawsuit is so shocking the document itself contains a trigger warning on the top stating, “this document contains highly graphic information of a sexual nature, including sexual assault”. The document also states a jury trial has been demanded.
Meanwhile, Tucker Carlson is expected to return to the Fox News Channel tonight after having been on vacation.
Ed Henry’s attorney put forth a statement 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 . . . Ed Henry looks forward to presenting actual facts and evidence”.
Ed Henry was fired on July 1st of this year based on the findings of an internal investigation. Henry is the subject of the worst of all the terrible accusations – trafficking – having coerced Eckhart into a hotel room and holding her career prospects in his hands.
The Fox News Network made their own statement saying:
“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.
“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.”
People have noted one of the lawyers representing the two plaintiffs is Douglas Wigdor who, a few years ago, has settled claims from more than 20 separate people which were all against the Fox Network. Many of which were specifically about Roger Ailes.
Another claim in the lengthy lawsuit document says one day on set Hannity threw $100 on the set desk, in front of all cast and crew, and began to call various men out while “demanding” someone take Areu on a date for drinks. Areu is said to have, in desperation, begged one of her friends to take the money so the moment would be over.
Cathy Areu also says she had been working out of the WXEL (a Fox affiliate) studio in Florida, during the pandemic. One day she reported the sexual harassment of a cameraman who had been showing her pictures of bikini-clad women all day and then “squeezed her rear end without warning or consent”.
The issue was taken to HR, but instead of an investigation being instigated Areu quickly found herself banned from the WXEL studio.
The number of accusations in the lawsuit are many, but there are six causes of action in the document. A cause of action is a fact which allows someone to take legal action. The six causes are sex trafficking, two separate accounts of hostile work environment – sexual harassment and gender discrimination, two separate accounts of retaliation, and the final cause is gender-motivated violence.