A lawsuit was filed against Fox News on Monday in the Southern district of New York by two women accusing former host Ed Henry of rape and sexual harassment. The two women involved in the lawsuit are former Fox Business Network producer Jennifer Eckhart and journalist Cathy Areu.

The lawsuit claims that Henry had been engaging in sexual misconduct since 2017, but he was fired on July 1 of this year after details and complaints of sexual harassment arose. 

In the lawsuit, Eckhart described her time working with the network by alleging that she was sexually assaulted on Fox News property and was raped in a hotel that the company was using to hold employees. Eckhart alleged that when she went to Fox Human Relations and her supervisor in February 2020 regarding what she described as a “toxic” workplace, no actions were taken. In June, she was terminated from her position after working for the network for over seven years.

Areu alleged that Henry attempted to coerce her into having a sexual relationship with him and had sent her “a slew of widely inappropriate sexual images and messages,” as stated in the lawsuit. 

Henry’s attorney Catherine Fonti released a statement that said, “The Me Too movement has helped to bring to light a number of injustices in our society, and everyone that has suffered deserves to be heard. This is not one of those cases.”

It went on, “The evidence in this case will demonstrate that Ms. Eckhart initiated and completely encouraged a consensual relationship. Ed Henry looks forward to presenting actual facts and evidence, which will contradict the fictional accounts contained in the complaint. That evidence includes graphic photos and other aggressively suggestive communications that Ms. Eckhart sent to Mr. Henry.”

Areu alleged that she was sexually harassed by other Fox employees Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson and Howard Kurtz. A statement was produced by a Fox News spokesperson that explained that a “comprehensive independent investigation” occurred on these claims that was managed by an outside law firm. The firm described Areu’s allegations as “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.” 

It continued, “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.”

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