A former Fox Business producer has accused former Fox News correspondent Ed Henry of raping her while they both worked at the network. The lawsuit, which was filed Monday, claims Henry “performed sadistic acts on her without her consent that left her injured, bruised and battered with bloody wrists” after placing handcuffs on her.
A second plaintiff in the lawsuit, frequent Fox News guest Cathy Areu, also accused Fox News hosts Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity and Howard Kurtz of harassment. All three hosts and Fox News are named as defendants in the lawsuit.
The lawsuit alleges that beginning in 2014, Henry — who at the time was Fox News’ chief White House correspondent — attempted to “groom” the producer, Jennifer Eckhart, and “coerce” her into a sexual relationship. Henry was married at the time.
When Eckhart refused his advances, the lawsuit alleges Henry “sexually assaulted her on office property, and raped her at a hotel where Fox News frequently lodged its visiting employees.” The lawsuit claims Henry put Eckhart in handcuffs and took photos of her prior to the assault, which Eckhart believes Henry kept as a way to blackmail her or keep her from speaking out.
According to the lawsuit, a few months later in September 2015, Henry physically forced Eckhart to perform oral sex on him at Fox News’ New York offices. When it was over, Eckhart “immediately ran out of the office in a state of shock, panic and fear,” the lawsuit alleges. Henry continued sending Eckhart “lewd and graphic sexual messages” over the next few months, the lawsuit claims.
The lawsuit also claims that, prior to the assault, Henry sent “inappropriate, flirtatious and, at times, sexually graphic text messages to Ms. Eckhart.” She claims she felt compelled to respond to Henry’s texts due to his position within Fox News, but always made it clear she was not interested in pursuing a sexual or romantic relationship.
Henry, who also served as co-host of the “America’s Newsroom” for five months beginning in January, was fired from Fox News on July 1 following allegations of sexual misconduct.
“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. However, nothing could be further from the truth,” the lawsuit says. “In reality, Fox News knew that Mr. Henry had engaged in sexual misconduct as far back as early 2017.”
Eckhart posted a statement to Instagram on Monday: “My decision to speak out was not an easy one, but I refuse to let fear of retaliation, victim shaming and further attacks intimidate me into remaining silent. I am hopeful that my decision to file this action will result in positive change for women at Fox, and for all victims in the workplace.”
An attorney representing Henry said in a statement that “The evidence in this case will demonstrate that Ms. Eckhart initiated and completely encouraged a consensual relationship… That evidence includes graphic photos and other aggressively suggestive communications that Ms. Eckhart sent to Mr. Henry.”
Areu, a frequent guest on Fox News, claimed she was sexually harassed by several prominent hosts at the network, including Henry.
The lawsuit alleged “Mr. Henry sent Ms. Areu a slew of wildly inappropriate sexual images and messages,” including a video titled “fastest interview” where a woman interviewing for a job is hired after exposing her genitals to the interviewer.
You can read the rest of Jordan Freiman’s article at CBSnews.com