Fox News is now set to face a major new lawsuit after a federal judge ruled that a former producer who had allegedly been sexually harassed and raped by former anchor Ed Henry may pursue a lawsuit against the company.
Eckhart, a former associate producer on Fox Business Network, alleges she endured years of sexual harassment including lewd messages from Ed Henry, the Fox News’ former White House correspondent. She further alleges being coerced into a sexual relationship and that it culminated in violent rape in a hotel room. Henry was fired as a result of her charges, but the termination wasn’t enough to stop Eckhart from going to court against Fox News.
U.S. District Court Judge Ronnie Abrams sees enough in her complaint to allow a claim for harassment under New York State Human Rights Law, although the judge is dismissing a second claim for sex trafficking.
According to the 52-page opinion (read here), much of Henry’s alleged abuse falls outside of the statute of limitations, but there’s enough from 2018 to carry her suit under New York law (if not Title VII) for now.
In allowing a hostile workplace claim, Abrams points to allegations that it was an “open secret” that Henry was a “serial harasser,” that Fox News had received a prior complaint about him, and that the law firm of Paul, Weiss had conducted an internal investigation into sexual harassment in the wake of allegations against former Fox News chief Roger Ailes.
Eckhart reportedly may also pursue claims against the anchor himself.