A series of harassment allegations against high-profile Fox personalities were made public in a lawsuit filed on Monday, to the sound of celebratory trumpet blasts from the rest of the news media. Many of the outlets that took weeks to report the alleged rape of a woman by Joe Biden were not nearly as hesitant to amplify the claims made against Fox hosts Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson, among others. Is that because the allegations against Hannity and Carlson are more credible? Well, you be the judge.
A frequent Fox guest named Cathy Areu (she was not an employee of the company at the time of these alleged incidents) says she was victimized by Sean Hannity in March of 2018 when the host supposedly presented $100 and offered to give it to any man on the staff who would take her on a date. A few months later she was on Carlson’s show when, she claims, Carlson mentioned that he’d be alone in the city that evening. The lawsuit also says that Carlson changed his jacket in front of her and that she wasn’t able to escape this terrible scene because she was “tied to her chair” by her microphone. Areu makes similar claims against other Fox employees and personalities, and she says she was punished when she turned down Carlson’s alleged implied potential proposition by only being invited on the show three times afterwards.
It is odd that Areu continued going back to Fox for guest spots even though, by her telling, she was being sexually propositioned left and right. If all of this happened, and if it made her uncomfortable, she could have avoided it just by turning down the appearance requests, which is something you can do by text or email with no effort or awkwardness at all. As for the allegations themselves, the story about Hannity is nonsensical the way it is presented. Why would he offer to pay someone else to take one of his guests on a date? If this happened at all — which seems doubtful to me — perhaps it was a joke that made sense in context. And even if it did happen exactly as described, and even if Hannity would not be vindicated by context, it still wouldn’t be harassment. At worst, this was a very weird joke.
The charge against Carlson is even more frivolous. Areu does not allege that Carlson ever directly propositioned her or said anything about sex to her. She alleges that he mentioned that he’d be alone that night, and she interpreted that as an implied request that she join him in his hotel room for sex. If he did say anything about being alone, it’s quite easy to imagine a non-sexual meaning behind it. He could have been making small talk. He could have been expressing relief that he gets a night to himself without the kids (as a father of four who very much enjoys quiet hotel rooms, I can relate to this). There could be any number of reasons why a person might say something like that to another person. Or it could be that he never said it at all. But whatever he said or didn’t say, there is no universe in which Areu’s claim against Carlson rises anywhere near the level of sexual harassment. The fact that she complains of him taking off his jacket, and alleges that she was helplessly bound to her chair because she couldn’t figure out how to take a mic clip off, just makes this all the more farcical.
We should note that the lawsuit does contain a more serious allegation. A woman named Jennifer Eckhart says that former Fox anchor Ed Henry raped her while she was naked and handcuffed. This also raises questions, such as why she’s filing a civil complaint rather than a criminal complaint after allegedly being physically restrained and assaulted. If true, Henry would be guilty of multiple felonies — kidnapping among them — and should be going to prison for the rest of his life. It seems odd that this matter wasn’t taken immediately to the police. But in any case, the Henry allegations have no bearing on the allegations against Hannity and especially Carlson, which are absurd and gratuitous by any measure.
Update: In a statement sent to The Daily Wire, Fox News responded to the accusations leveled by Areu. “Based on the findings of a comprehensive independent investigation conducted by an outside law firm, including interviews with numerous eyewitnesses, we have determined that all of Cathy Areu’s claims against FOX News, including its management as well as its hosts Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity & Howard Kurtz and its contributor Gianno Caldwell, are 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. 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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This article has been expanded to include Fox News’ statement on Areu and Eckhart’s claims.