Chicago Sun-Times - - NATION/WORLD - BY DAVID BAUDER AP Me­dia Writer

NEW YORK — Fox News Chan­nel stars Sean Han­nity, Tucker Carl­son and Howard Kurtz were ac­cused of sex­ual ha­rass­ment by a fre­quent on-air guest in a law­suit filed Mon­day that the net­work called friv­o­lous and un­true.

In the same case, a for­mer Fox em­ployee said she was ha­rassed and raped by news an­chor Ed Henry, who was fired July 1 shortly af­ter the net­work be­came aware of the ac­cu­sa­tions.

Henry’s lawyer, Cather­ine Foti, said Mon­day that her client’s ac­cuser, Jen­nifer Eck­hart, ini­ti­ated and en­cour­aged a sex­ual re­la­tion­ship. Han­nity and Carl­son rep­re­sent two-thirds of Fox’s lu­cra­tive prime­time lineup, while Kurtz hosts the week­end “Me­dia Buzz” show. None of the men has been men­tioned be­fore in any mis­con­duct al­le­ga­tions at Fox un­til the charges were made by Cathy Areu.

The law­suit filed in New York de­scribes Areu’s dis­com­fort with a March 2018 in­ci­dent on the set of Han­nity’s show where the host al­legedly put $100 on a desk and chal­lenged the men on his staff to take her out on a date.

She said she was a guest on Carl­son’s show in De­cem­ber 2018 and that af­ter it was over, he told her he was stay­ing in a ho­tel room in New York that night with­out his wife and chil­dren. In 2019, she said Kurtz in­vited her to his ho­tel room to dis­cuss her hope of get­ting a full-time job at Fox. When she in­stead in­vited him to din­ner with her and a friend, he de­clined, she said.

In the cases of Carl­son and Kurtz, Areu be­lieved the men were mak­ing sex­ual ad­vances, the law­suit said. Areu said she was also propo­si­tioned by Gianno Cald­well, a Fox con­trib­u­tor.

Based on an out­side law firm’s in­ves­ti­ga­tion, Fox said it found all of Areu’s claims “false, patently friv­o­lous and ut­terly de­void of any merit.” Fox said it would de­fend it­self vig­or­ously.

Areu also said she got sev­eral lewd mes­sages from Henry. But it was the ac­cu­sa­tions made by Eck­hart, a for­mer em­ployee, that led to the an­chor’s dis­missal. Her al­le­ga­tions weren’t made pub­lic when Henry was fired.

Eck­hart, who was 24 at the time, said the 49-year-old Henry re­strained her with metal hand­cuffs, took nude pic­tures of her and raped her in a ho­tel room. She said that he had asked Eck­hart to be his “sex slave” and “lit­tle whore” and pun­ished her when she did not com­ply with his de­mands.

Ed Henry

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