Fox News says there are inconsistencies in the allegations of a former guest that accused their primetime anchors of sexual harassment.
In a lawsuit filed on Monday in New York, Cathy Areu alleges that Tucker Carlson invited her to a hotel room, implying his wife wouldn’t be there, and that Sean Hannity offered to pay one of his staff members to take her on a date.
She says that her refusal to ‘play along’ led to her rarely, if ever, being invited back to either of their programs.
But Fox News told Mediaite that Areu, 49, continued to appear on Carlson’s show, and was invited back four times in the four months after she claims he harassed her.
Additionally, Areu even allegedly thanked Hannity for paying for drinks for her and a friend – and accepted money from him for another round of drinks with the same friend.
Former Fox News guest Cathy Areu (pictured) and Jennifer Eckhart, a former associate producer at Fox Business, filed a lawsuit on Monday alleging sexual harassment at Fox News
In the suit, Areu claims Tucker Carlson propositioned her by telling her that he was staying alone in a hotel room without his wife. She is seen above on his show in 2018
In the suit, Areu alleges Sean Hannity threw $100 on a desk telling men in the studio to take her out on a date. Pictured: Areu and Hannity, left, and the alleged $100, right. The pictures above are filed in the lawsuit
In her claim against Hannity, 58, Areu says he allegedly threw $100 on a desk telling men in the studio to take her out on a date on March 8, 2018.
‘On that day, Mr Hannity, on set and in front of the entire studio crew – and completely unsolicited – threw $100 on the set desk,’ the suit reads.
‘He then began calling out to the men in the room and demanding that someone take Ms Areu out on a date for drinks at Del Friscos. He repeatedly yelled: “Who wants to take her on a date ‘Take her on a date to Del Friscos.”‘
Del Frisco Double Eagle Steakhouse in an elegant three-level steakhouse across the street from Rockefeller Center and Radio City Music Hall.
Areu said she was very uncomfortable with the behavior and allegedly pleaded with one of her friend ‘to accept the money so that the humiliation would end.’
None of the staffers took the money but Hannity reportedly nagged one of his male employees for being ‘afraid to take out a beautiful woman’.
In a series of emails released to Mediaite, Fox News says Hannity paid for drinks for her and a friend, which she thanked him for in emails (above)
Areu claims Hannity taunted his staff about paying one of them $100 to take her on a date to Del Frisco Steakhouse (pictured) while Fox News claims Hannity gave her $100 to buy drinks
But in emails provided to Fox News and seen by Mediaite, they appear to show the friend mentioned in the lawsuit is the one she asked to bring,
She claimed her friend, Alex, was her ‘good luck charm’ and is ‘very calming.’
According to Mediaite, Fox News, which hired an outside firm to investigate the allegations, claimed that Hannity offered Areu and her friend $100 to get drinks at Del Frisco’s after her appearance on the show.
Areu then allegedly sent two emails thanking Hannity and staff members, the first at 10.37pm reading: ‘Thanks so much for having me on. Way too much fun.’
The second was allegedly sent at 6.39am the following day and included a picture of a martini she says she ordered at Del Frisco’s.
Areu (pictured) claims that her failure to ‘play along’ resulted in her rarely being invited back to Hannity, but Fox News said she appeared on the show nine between March 8, 2018, and July 3, 2019.
Areu claims she was rarely invited back to either Carlson or Hannity’s show. But Fox News said she appeared on Carlson’s show four times in the four months after the incident and nine times on Hannity’s show between March 2018 and July 2019
FOX NEWS RESPONDS TO ALLEGATIONS
A spokesperson for the network issued a statement about the lawsuit to DailyMail.com which denies the plaintiffs’ claims and vows to fight them ‘vigorously’.
‘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,’ the spokesperson said.
‘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.’
‘Please thank Sean for a fun evening. He shouldn’t have! … but We did exactly as he and Alex’s had bet. Down to the pineapple martini,’ she wrote.
Areu claims that her failure to ‘play along’ resulted in her rarely being invited back to Hannity, but Fox News claims she appeared on the show nine times between March 8, 2018, and July 3, 2019.
During one of these appearances, Fox claims Areu thanked Hannity for the drinks, and he that he gave her money again for another round of drinks.
In her claim against Carlson, 51, Areu says she was harassed during her ‘final 2018 appearance’ on his show.
‘Following the show, Mr Carlson changed on set into his leather jacket for the annual Christmas party that he told Ms Areu he would only be attending for approximately 10 minutes,’ the suit stated.
According to Mediate and The Spectator, Areu’s final 2018 appearance on Carlson’s program took place on November 30 but the network’s annual Christmas party took place on December 10.
Areu’s attorney Michael Willemin told Mediaite his client must have been thinking of a smaller Christmas party for Carlson’s staff than for all of Fox News.
Her suit also claims that Carlson told her ‘he would be staying alone in his hotel room without any wife or kids.’
But Fox News told Mediate that Carlson hosted the Tucker Carlson Tonight Christmas party with his wife, and stayed with her in a hotel that evening.
‘[Areu] didn’t go to the party so she can’t say who was there, but certainly stands by what he told her,’ Willemin told Mediate.
The lawsuit claims that after Areu indicated she wasn’t incident, she was only featured on his show only a handful times between 2019 and 2020.
But Fox News told Mediaite that Areu appeared on Carlson’s program four times in the four months following the alleged incident.
‘There is zero evidence of retaliation,’ the network said.
The federal suit filed on Monday also includes as a plaintiff Jennifer Eckhart, a former associate producer at Fox Business.
In the lawsuit, former Fox News anchor Ed Henry (left, with his wife Shirley) was also accused of ‘violently raping’ Jennifer Eckhart (right), a former associate producer at Fox Business
The lawsuit includes photos of texts Henry allegedly sent to Eckhart. In the texts, he called her his ‘sex slave’ and his ‘little w***e’
Eckhart claims former Fox Business anchor Ed Henry raped her in 2017 after trying to coerce her into a sexual relationship
Henry – who has been married since 2010 – denied the allegations in the lawsuit in a statement on Monday and claimed his relationship with Eckhart was consensual.
Areu also claims she was sexually harassed by Henry, 49, and journalists Howard Kurtz and Gianno Caldwell.