“Fox News has been sued for defamation.” Sure, that sentence could be written about the network just about any day of the week. What makes it particularly ironic today is that the plaintiff in this case is Ed Henry, who was fired last July after he was accused in a complaint of “violently” raping a former Fox Business producer and sending “wildly inappropriate sexual images” to another woman, Cathy Areu, who frequently appeared on the network.
Henry filed the lawsuit Wednesday in U.S. District Court in New Jersey against the network and its chief executive officer, Suzanne Scott, alleging that he was publicly painted as a “sex criminal” in an attempt by Scott to save her reputation. The lawsuit claims that Henry and former producer Jennifer Eckhart engaged in a consensual relationship that ended in 2017. It does not address the claims of the second woman.
Henry was co-anchor of “Fox & Friends Weekend” before he was promoted to the network’s weekday current affairs program “America’s Newsroom.” At the time of his termination Eckhart sued Henry and the network for violation of sex trafficking laws and human rights laws and gender-motivated violence.
Henry was fired shortly before the women’s allegations became public. In a statement, the network said it had become aware of sexual misconduct allegations involving Henry and had terminated him “based on the investigative findings.”
In his suit, Henry accuses Scott and the network of turning against him and abruptly firing him while “publicly humiliating him in the process.” It says that when the network released its statement announcing the termination, Scott insinuated that Henry was guilty of sexual misconduct.
“Ms. Scott had long been an instrument to cover up the existence of sexual misconduct at Fox News,” it continues, accusing Scott of trying to hide an alleged affair between a subordinate and the network’s president, Jay Wallace.
“Thus, Ms. Scott used Plaintiff as a scapegoat to divert attention away from her own sordid history at Fox News.”
Earlier this week it was reported that the network admitted to an ongoing “pattern of violating New York City Human Rights Law” including sexual harassment, discrimination and retaliation against victimized employees and would pay the city a fine of $1 million as part of a settlement agreement.