Ex-Fox News host Ed Henry accused of brutally raping staffer, calling her 'sex slave' and asking for her underwear

Jennifer Eckhart alleged that Henry, who was fired earlier this month for 'willful sexual misconduct', raped and assaulted her and reportedly 'performed sadistic acts on her'


                            Ex-Fox News host Ed Henry accused of brutally raping staffer, calling her 'sex slave' and asking for her underwear
Ed Henry (Getty Images)
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(Trigger warning: Article contains graphic details of sexual abuse)

Former Fox News host Ed Henry has been found to be embroiled in a whole new set of rape and sexual harassment allegations after a lawsuit was filed Monday, July 20, in New York federal court. In the complaint, a former associate producer at Fox Business, Jennifer Eckhart alleged that Henry, who was fired earlier this month for "willful sexual misconduct", raped and assaulted her and reportedly "performed sadistic acts on her without her consent that left her injured, bruised and battered with bloody wrists."

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Highlighting the brutal and disturbing details, Eckhart alleged that Henry who is married "groomed, psychologically manipulated and coerced" her into a sexual relationship and even called her a "sex slave." Not just that, the lawsuit claimed, "when she would not comply voluntarily, [Henry] sexually assaulted her on office property and raped her at a hotel where Fox News frequently lodged its visiting employees."

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According to the lawsuit, the relationship began in 2014 after Henry sent a private message to Eckhart calling her "beautiful." Narrating the events that followed, the lawsuit said, "Ms. Eckhart became a sexual target of Mr. Henry," and added, "Mr. Henry continued to send inappropriate, flirtatious and, at times, sexually graphic text messages to Ms. Eckhart" after they first met in the network’s New York offices. Eventually, after one meeting at a hotel, ostensibly to discuss her career prospects, Eckhart recalled relenting to Henry’s advances, "fearing that her career would be over if she refused Mr. Henry."

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Fox News journalist Ed Henry, actor Sylvester Stallone and CEO and owner of DuJour Media Jason Binn attend DuJour Magazine's Jason Binn celebrating Sly Stallone's cover with Michael Satsky at Provocateur on August 14, 2014, in New York City. (Getty Images)

The startling report also said that he forced her to perform sexual acts, including when she was asked to remove her underwear and deliver it to him in an envelope. Later that day, he demanded oral sex be performed in a guest office at Fox News headquarters in New York. The report also detailed how he "violently raped" her while she was handcuffed and took nude photos of her without her consent. The lawsuit says Henry laughed while clicking the pictures even as "Eckhart pleaded with Mr. Henry to stop, and to remove the handcuffs, and to delete the naked pictures he took of her without her consent."

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The lawsuit alleges that the photographs were bait to keep Eckhart mum. The sex trafficking, sexual harassment, gender discrimination and retaliation lawsuit further said, "It is widely documented in the public record that Fox News has not only cultivated and fostered sexual harassment and misconduct but has consistently accepted and rewarded it." Attorney Douglas Wigdor announced the lawsuit and said, "What this lawsuit reveals is that today’s Fox News is the same old Fox News," adding, "Some of the names in leadership may have changed since Roger Ailes’ regime, but Fox News’ institutional apathy towards sexual misconduct has not."

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Fox News host Tucker Carlson  (Getty Images)

Meanwhile, Henry’s attorney, Catherine Foti, issued a statement on behalf of her client: "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. 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."

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It also brings current on-air hosts Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson and Howard Kurtz into the gory picture. A Fox News spokesperson said, "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," adding, "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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Fox News Channel and radio talk show host Sean Hannity  interviews U.S. President Donald Trump (Getty Images)

No sooner did the news start circulating on social media, there were a string of strong reactions. "Cathy Areu made accusations against Ed Henry, Hannity, Tucker, Kurtz, and Gianno Caldwell. Seems the whole network couldn't keep their hands off her. Tucker allegedly asked her to his hotel," one tweet read and another said, "And yet Fox s**tcanned Ed Henry. They must know something. Oops."

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"Of course you do. Humiliating someone is not illegal so Tucker is good. Hannity would never make a sexual remark to another woman especially somebody as ugly Cathy Areu. I don't know Ed Henry," one Twitter user posted. Another said, "But you defend Tucker and Hannity? Why is Ed Henry the fall guy? His ratings not high enough? What if Hannity and Tucker are guilty like Bill O'Reilly and Donald Trump?" One even went on to say: "No, only against Ed Henry, which is old news. The charges against Tucker and Hannity are the nebulous "sexual misconduct" charge. You know, they told a crude joke while a woman was present. That kind of thing."

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One Twitter user posted, "Tucker is a smooth operator! O by the way, we support FOX News-allegations are false. Darn-stoop so low to accuse newscasters of sexual assault? I hope Ed Henry gets his job back. Did the “MeToo” idiot think we would believe this nonsense? Trump must be the real deal." Another said, "Goodbye Ed Henry & Hannity! Ed Henry fired! Lawsuit against Ed Henry and Hannity at Fox News over sexual harassment makes me sick to my stomach!"

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Disclaimer : This is based on sources and we have been unable to verify this information independently.