Former FOX News anchor Ed Henry, hosts Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson, and Howard Kurtz and contributor Gianno Caldwell are named in a sexual misconduct lawsuit filed in New York federal court Monday. The lawsuit was filed by former Fox News producer Jennifer Eckhart and journalist Cathy Areu.
The Daily Beast reports: “According to the complaint, [Fox News producer Jennifer] Eckhart alleged that Henry, who is married, ‘groomed, psychologically manipulated and coerced’ her into a sexual relationship in which he referred to her as his ‘sex slave.’ Additionally, the lawsuit claimed, ‘when she would not comply voluntarily, [Henry] sexually assaulted her on office property, and raped her at a hotel where Fox News frequently lodged its visiting employees.'”
The allegations against Sean Hannity, according to the complaint: “Ms. Areu was a relatively regular face on The Sean Hannity Show until March 8, 2018. On that day, Mr. Hannity, on set and in front of the entire studio crew – and completely unsolicited – threw $100 on the set desk. He then began calling out to the men in the room and demanding that someone take Ms. Areu out on a date for drinks at Del Friscos. He repeatedly yelled, ‘who wants to take her on a date?’ ‘Take her on a date to Del Friscos.’ Ms. Areu was completely mortified and made clear that she was incredibly uncomfortable with Mr. Hannity’s misogynistic behavior by quietly pleading with one of her friends in the room to accept the money so that the humiliation would end. To make matters worse, Ms. Areu was ‘stuck’ and could not even leave because Mr. Hannity engaged in this conduct while she was ‘hooked into’ studio equipment that could only have been removed by a stagehand. 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 allegations against Carlson, according to the complaint: “After Ms. Areu’s segment was completed, one of Mr. Carlson’s producers or writers whispered in Ms. Areu’s ear, while she was on set trying to get out of the chair, and told her that Mr. Carlson wanted her to stay until the very end of the show to chat with him. Ms. Areu had no choice but to comply with Mr. Carlson’s request due to the fact that she was on live television while tied to her chair with a microphone on her that was attached to the chair. … Following the show, Mr. Carlson changed on set into his leather jacket for the annual Christmas party that he told Ms. Areu he would only be attending for approximately 10 minutes to, ‘make a quick appearance.’ Following the show, 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.”
The Daily Beast adds: “Areu was a frequent guest on Howard Kurtz’s Sunday MediaBuzz program, and Kurtz (a former Daily Beast columnist until 2013) , knowing that she was trying to get a job at Fox News, repeatedly invited her in March and July of 2019 to dinner and drinks, and also to his New York hotel room, the complaint alleged. … The lawsuit further alleged that Fox News political analyst Gianno Caldwell repeatedly pressed Areu to date him, using the possibility of an introduction to his friend Ann Coulter as a lure.”