The Time’s Up Authorized Protection Fund is supporting a sexual harassment lawsuit filed in opposition to Fox News and several other of its anchors, together with Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity.
The group — which was based within the wake of the #MeToo motion — is offering PR assist to Cathy Areu, a former unpaid Fox News contributor who alleges she confronted a “barrage of sexual harassment” on the community.
Fox News has pushed again aggressively on Areu’s claims, releasing messages that appeared to contradict her preliminary account and threatening to hunt authorized sanctions if her allegations weren’t withdrawn.
Areu and Jennifer Eckhart, a former affiliate producer on the community, filed go well with on July 20 in federal court docket in New York.
Eckhart alleged that Ed Henry, the veteran correspondent and anchor on the community, had violently raped her at a lodge room in 2017. She additionally accused Henry of psychologically manipulating her and asking her to be his “intercourse slave.” The grievance included quite a few graphic textual content messages allegedly despatched by Henry.
Henry was fired on July 1, shortly after Eckhart’s attorneys, Douglas Wigdor and Michael Willemin, notified the community of her declare. Henry has denied the allegations, saying the connection was consensual, however Fox News has not defended him.
Areu additionally accused Henry of sending graphic and undesirable messages, and stated that Henry ended their relationship after she refused to have intercourse with him.
Wigdor has beforehand represented many former Fox News workers who’ve accused the community and of sexual misconduct.
The Ed Henry lawsuit additionally included Areu’s allegations in opposition to a number of different community stars.
Areu alleged that Carlson propositioned her, telling her after a present that he could be alone at his lodge room that night time. After she sidestepped the advance, she alleged that her appearances on his present dwindled after which stopped altogether.
Areu lodged an analogous allegation in opposition to Howard Kurtz, the host of the community’s present “Media Buzz.” She alleged that Kurtz invited her to his lodge room, and stopped inviting her on the present after she declined, saying in substance, “you’re the one girl right here who received’t come to my lodge room.”
She additionally alleged that Hannity provided to pay $100 to any man on set who would take Areu on a date. She stated she was “mortified” by Hannity’s habits, and that after that have she was infrequently invited on his present.
Three days after the grievance was filed, Mediaite ran a narrative highlighting “inconsistencies” in Areu’s account. The story quoted from an e-mail Areu despatched to Kurtz, by which she wrote, “What’s your room quantity? What identify are you underneath? What’s your cell? I’m coming over. We are able to do it the straightforward approach, or the exhausting approach.”
The community has accused Wigdor and Areu of “severe misconduct by making patently false allegations” in opposition to the three hosts. In August, Fox’s legal professionals demanded that Wigdor retract the allegations inside 21 days or face sanctions.
Wigdor has withdrawn as Areu’s lawyer, although he nonetheless represents Eckhart. Areu has since retained James A. Vagnini, who’s now in search of to separate the case from Eckhart’s go well with.
On Friday, Vagnini filed an amended grievance that lays out Areu’s allegations in additional element. The grievance alleges that Fox leaked “cherry-picked” emails to make it seem that Areu welcomed the sexual advances.
Relating to the Kurtz incident, for instance, the grievance states that by the point she despatched the e-mail in search of his room quantity, she had already made it clear she wouldn’t come to his room, and was utilizing over-the-top humor in an effort to defuse the state of affairs.
The amended grievance additionally alleges a “pay for play” atmosphere at Fox News, the place feminine contributors are pressured to succumb to sexual advances with the intention to succeed.
Vangini additionally notified the court docket on Friday that he could search to transform the case to a category motion, with Areu representing a category of unpaid contributors.
Fox denied the claims once more in an announcement.
“As we’ve maintained, the accusations in opposition to Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity and Howard Kurtz are totally devoid of benefit,” the community stated. “Ms. Areu’s allegation that girls usually are not handled equally at FOX News can also be provably false and yet one more malicious try to smear the community with baseless claims. In reality, FOX News has offered extra management alternatives for ladies than another cable information community, together with that includes extra solo girls anchors and hosts on-air and retaining a senior employees comprised of greater than 50% feminine executives.“