According to Salon, Fox News hosts—current and former—are facing new accusations of rape and sexual harassment. That’s according to a lawsuit filed this week against Fox News from two women named Jennifer Eckhart and Cathy Areu, with Eckhart (a former associate producer for Fox Business) accusing recently fired America’s Newsroom co-anchor Ed Henry of rape and Areu (a frequent Fox News guest) accusing Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson, and Howart Kurtz of sexual harassment. The allegations against Henry are truly horrific, with Salon noting that the legal complaint itself contains a trigger warning, and Fox News has already issued a statement (below) noting that it promptly fired Henry after learning about Eckhart claims.
As for Areu, she claims she’s been the victim of a pattern of harassment and retaliation from hosts at Fox News, typically with Hannity, Carlson, and Kurtz doing or saying inappropriate things while she’s still hoked up to mics and can’t simply leave without assistance. During an appearance on Carlson’s show, she says a producer or writer told her to stick around until the show had ended, and when she did, she claims that Carlson invited her to a hotel room where “his wife would not be present.” When she refused, she says her invitations to appear on the show stopped. A similar thing allegedly happened with Hannity, with Areu claiming that he took out $100 and demanded that one of the men on his show take her out on a date while she was still attached to audio equipment, and while it sounds like none of the staff responded, Areu says she was never invited.
Salon makes a point to highlight the timing of this: Apparently, the law firm working with Areu informed Fox News of her allegations on July 9, just a few days before Carlson left on what Fox has repeatedly noted was a “legit and pre-planned vacation.” A spokesperson speaking with Salon said that the allegations have “zero to do with his vacation,” that he is still employed, and that the allegations against Carlson were “promptly investigated.” Presumably the reason Salon is pointing out the timing of Carlson’s vacation (and the reason Fox News is pointing out that he’s still employed) is because this isn’t the first time a Fox News host has gone on a vacation while facing a misconduct allegation. Back in 2017, Bill O’Reilly had also gone on a “vacation” right before being fired by the network amidst a series of well-publicized sexual harassment allegations.
There’s no reason to assume that the same thing is happening here, especially since O’Reilly’s “vacation” was also happening as a ton of his advertisers were pulling out due to public pressure to stop sponsoring his show, but that is at least probably why Carlson being on vacation seems notable to people.
Here’s the full statement that Fox News gave to Salon:
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. 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.