By Eamonn Burke
Ed Henry, long time Fox News anchor who was fired under accusations of sexual assault this month, is now being sued by two women named Jennifer Eckhart and Cathy Areu. Eckhart, a former associate producer for Fox, alleges that Mr. Henry offered promotions in exchange for a sexual relationship with her. Co-plantiff Areu also accuses him of harassment in the form of inappropriate messages and also mentions Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson, and Howard Kirtz in other “sexual charged” instances.
Fox News responded by acknowledging Eckhart’s claims and assuring that they fired Henry as soon as they heard of them. As for Areu’s allegations, they dismissed them as “false, patently frivolous and utterly devoid of any merit” as determined by a law firm they hired. Mr. Henry’s lawyer, Catherine Foti, does not accept the allegations from either party: “The evidence in this case will demonstrate that Ms. Eckhart initiated and completely encouraged a consensual relationship” she asserted.
Ms. Eckhart’s account of her interactions with Mr. Henry do not suggest something consensual, instead something far from it. The suit, filed on Monday, says that Henry “sexually assaulted her on office property, and raped her at a hotel where Fox News frequently lodged its visiting employees.” Additional information says that Eckhart was handcuffed, and Henry took photos of her afterwards.
The suit also claims that Fox News knew that Henry was engaging in this behavior as far back as 2017, and only did something about it now in order to “get ahead of this suit.” This accusation has major implications, and suggests perpetuation of the misogynistic culture that is rumored to exist at Fox News, which came to the forefront when news tycoon Roger Ailes faced multiple allegations of sexual harassment.
The women are suing for sexual harassment, creating a hostile work environment, retaliation, and violation of sex trafficking laws, and are seeking damages.