Jennifer Eckhart (Sexual Assaulted by Fox News Stars)
Jennifer Eckhart and Cathy Areu are claiming a hostile workplace, Fox News Hit With Lawsuit Alleging Sexual Misconduct by Top Talent
Jennifer Eckhart is the former Fox Business Network producer who is accusing one of the network’s former high-ranking reporters, Ed Henry, of rape in a new lawsuit. A Fox News spokesperson has confirmed to site that Eckhart is no longer employed by the network.
In the lawsuit, which was filed in United States District Court Southern District of New York on July 20, Eckhart, 30, accuses Henry, 48, of rape and of coercive sex. Another Fox News personality, Cathy Areu, is named as a plaintiff in the lawsuit. Areu is accusing various Fox News personalities, including Sean Hannity, of sexual harassment. Both are represented by Michael Willemin of Wigdor LLP in the case.
On June 25, Ed Henry was suspended by Fox News pending an investigation into allegations made against him. On July 1, Henry was fired by the network. Henry had been with Fox News since June 2011. It’s alleged that Eckhart told her superiors at Fox News that she had hired outside legal counsel with regard to her complaints against Henry.
After the publication of this article, Fox News spokesperson Jessica Ketner issued a statemen reading:
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.
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.
“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.”
A former Fox News reporter and associate producer, along with a frequent guest on the network, have leveled brutal and disturbing sexual-assault allegations against former host Ed Henry as well as harassment allegations against current on-air talent like hosts Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson, and Howard Kurtz.
In the complaint, filed Monday in New York federal court, former Fox News producer Jennifer Eckhart alleged that Henry—the long-time Fox reporter and host of America’s Newsroom who was fired earlier this month for what the network called “willful sexual misconduct”—raped and assaulted her and “performed sadistic acts on her without her consent that left her injured, bruised and battered with bloody wrists.”
“What this lawsuit reveals is that today’s Fox News is the same old Fox News,” said attorney Douglas Wigdor in announcing the lawsuit’s filing. “Some of the names in leadership may have changed since Roger Ailes’ regime, but Fox News’ institutional apathy towards sexual misconduct has not.”
According to the complaint, 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 relationship began in 2014, according to the lawsuit, after Henry, who is two decades older than Eckhart, messaged her on Twitter telling her that he thought she was “beautiful.” From there, the lawsuit claimed, “Ms. Eckhart became a sexual target of Mr. Henry,” noting how “Mr. Henry continued to send inappropriate, flirtatious and, at times, sexually graphic text messages to Ms. Eckhart” after they first met in the network’s New York offices. Eventually, after one meeting at a hotel, ostensibly to discuss her career prospects, Eckhart recalled relenting to Henry’s advances, “fearing that her career would be over if she refused Mr. Henry.”
Months later, Eckhart claimed, Henry forced her to perform disturbing sexual acts on him. On one occasion, he told her to remove her underwear and deliver it to him in an envelope. Later that day, he ordered her to perform oral sex on him in a guest office at Fox News headquarters in New York. Over time, the lawsuit alleged, Henry’s treatment of Eckhart became increasingly violent.
On another occasion, Eckhart alleged, Henry “violently raped” her while she was handcuffed, only after he took nude photos of her without her consent. According to the lawsuit, Henry laughed as he took the photographs, and “Eckhart pleaded with Mr. Henry to stop, and to remove the handcuffs, and to delete the naked pictures he took of her without her consent.” The photographs, the lawsuit suggested, were an intimidation tactic to keep Eckhart silent.