The complaints against recently-fired anchor Ed Henry are the most disturbing. A former Fox Business producer named Jennifer Eckhart alleges that Henry asked her to be his “sex slave” and his “little whore” and threatened punishment and retaliation if she did not comply. Much worse than that, Eckhart claims that Henry raped her while she was helpless and restrained in metal handcuffs. She said that Henry “preformed sadistic acts on her without her consent that left her injured, bruised and battered with bloody wrists.”
The other plaintiff, a frequent Fox News guest named Cathy Areu, made less horrific claims but they paint a broader picture of predatory behavior at Fox, with the worst coming from Henry.
From my post yesterday (the list of texts is abridged):
According to the legal complaint, Henry sent Ms. Areu a slew of wildly inappropriate sexual images and messages – which are in her possession – throughout the first half of this year.” They include:
- A “closeup” photograph of a woman’s vagina being “clamped” closed by four clothespins;
- A photograph of a woman’s rear end and vagina modified to include the features of a bunny rabbit (this was sent for Easter);
- A video entitled “Fastest Interview ... candidate selected in 3 seconds.” In the video, someone purportedly interviewing for a position exposes her vagina, after which the interviewer indicates that she got the job.
The complaint notes that immediately after sending the “Fastest Interview” video to Areu, Henry, who allegedly knew Areu was looking for an anchor job on Fox, texted her, “Are you avail for anchor interview.”
Areu also alleges that following an appearance on Tucker Carlson’s show, the tech crew kept her attached to her chair so that he could proposition her. After she declined, her frequent bookings on the show dried up.
Areu claims that while she was similarly “hooked into” studio equipment that could only be removed by a stagehand, Sean Hannity threw $100 on a desk and repeatedly yelled, “who wants to take her on a date?” After Areu declined to “play along,” her bookings on the Hannity show dried up, too.
After rebuffing an advance from Howard Kurtz, Areu says his show stopped booking her, too.
Putting aside the legal merits of the suit (I’m not a lawyer), the details paint a picture of Fox News as a frat party filled with men who think women are their toys. It puts yet another lie to Fox's claim that its culture of sexual abuse and misogyny has changed.
It also casts even more doubt on Tucker Carlson's mid-week "vacation" last week. It turns out Fox News was informed of this lawsuit four days before Carlson took his "long-planned” fishing trip, right after his head writer was outed for making shockingly racist posts online.