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allegations

Ex-Fox News anchor Ed Henry accused of rape and sexual harassment

In a lawsuit filed Monday, Jennifer Eckhart, a former Fox Business associate producer, alleges that she was raped by ex-Fox News anchor Ed Henry.

The suit, filed in a New York federal court, claims that Henry "preyed upon, manipulated, and groomed Ms. Eckhart" to have a sexual relationship with him, and he told her if she did not go along with his sexual demands, she would receive "punishment and retaliation," BuzzFeed News reports. Eckhart also accused Henry of sexually assaulting her in the office and raping her at a hotel.

Additionally, the lawsuit alleges that Cathy Areu, a regular guest on Fox News, was sexually harassed by Fox News hosts Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, and Howard Kurtz and political analyst Gianno Caldwell; she also claims that Henry sent her sexually explicit messages and pictures. Areu says that in December 2018, Carlson let her know he was staying at a hotel without his wife and children, allegedly "probing to see whether Ms. Areu was interested in a sexual relationship." After she rebuffed his advances, Areu said she was no longer regularly invited to appear on his show.

Areu also claims that Hannity offered male staffers $100 to take her out on a date, Kurtz retaliated against her when she would not meet him in the lobby of the hotel he was staying in, and Caldwell attempted to coerce her into going on a date with him in exchange for setting up a meeting with right-wing personality Ann Coulter.

Henry was fired earlier this month, and in a statement to BuzzFeed News, Fox News said "swift action" was taken after the network learned about the allegations against him. Fox News also said it hired an outside law firm to conduct a "comprehensive independent investigation," which determined that "all of Cathy Areu's claims against Fox News, including its management, as well as its hosts Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, and Howard Kurtz and its contributor Gianno Caldwell, are false, patently frivolous, and utterly devoid of any merit."

Henry's attorney released a statement denying the allegations, claiming that Eckhart "initiated and completely encouraged a consensual relationship."