By Cassandra Fairbanks
Former Fox News anchor Ed Henry has filed a defamation lawsuit against the network over public statements made when he was fired over allegations of sexual misconduct.
Henry also names network CEO Suzanne Scott, who he says “sandbagged” him with a statement about the allegations against him.
Henry was accused of sexual assault by two women, Jennifer Eckhart, a former producer for Fox Business, and Cathy Areu, a former frequent guest on Fox shows.
Eckhart alleged that Henry raped her and “left her injured, bruised and battered, with bloody wrists” in a New York hotel room “sometime in 2017” and that Fox executives were informed “in graphic and specific detail” about what happened.
Areu claimed that she was sent “a slew of wildly inappropriate sexual images and messages – which are in her possession” by Henry in 2020.
“On Thursday, June 25, we received a complaint about Ed Henry from a former employee’s attorney involving willful sexual misconduct in the workplace years ago,” Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott and Jay Wallace, Fox News Media’s president and executive editor, said in a memo when the allegations emerged. “We immediately retained an outside law firm (which has never represented Fox News in investigations or litigation) to independently investigate the claims. Ed was suspended the same day and removed from his on-air responsibilities pending investigation.”
Henry maintains that their claims are false.
USA Today reports that the lawsuit by Henry says Scott’s statement lent “credence to the false allegations because she was trying to save her own career and burnish her image as a tough, no nonsense female executive who cleaned up Fox News. In reality, however, Ms. Scott had long been an instrument to cover up the existence of sexual misconduct at Fox News,” adding she “has repeatedly covered up sexual misconduct by senior Fox News management.”
Henry’s lawsuit was filed one day after the New York City Commission on Human Rights fined Fox News $1 million in a settlement stemming from a sexual harassment investigation. It is the highest civil penalty in the commission’s history.
Fox News released a statement responding to the lawsuit, saying that they are “fully prepared to vigorously defend” itself against Henry’s “baseless allegations.”
“As we stated one year ago, Fox News Media conducted a thorough independent investigation into Ed Henry immediately after we were made aware of a serious misconduct claim against him by a former employee. Based on the results of those findings, we promptly terminated Mr. Henry’s employment for willful sexual misconduct and stand by the decision entirely,” the statement reads.
The network also accused the former anchor of “driving his personal life into the ground with countless extramarital affairs in a desperate attempt for relevance and redemption.”
“We are fully prepared to vigorously defend against these baseless allegations as Mr. Henry further embarrasses himself in a lawsuit rife with inaccuracies after driving his personal life into the ground with countless extramarital affairs in a desperate attempt for relevance and redemption,” the statement continued.