Ms. Eckhart said in the lawsuit that she complained to a human resources executive about “a toxic work environment” in February 2020, but that the network did not follow up with her. On June 12, Ms. Eckhart was let go. She approached the network on June 25 with her claims about Mr. Henry, who was fired on July 1.
Ms. Eckhart and Ms. Areu are represented by the law firm of Douglas H. Wigdor, a prominent lawyer in workplace harassment cases who has sued Fox News on several occasions.
A partner at the firm, Michael J. Willemin, said on Monday that the law firm retained by Fox News to investigate his clients’ claims “did not even speak with either of our clients,” and he called on Fox News to release a copy of its internal investigation.
Fox News said that its investigators “requested in writing the opportunity to speak directly with each plaintiff with their attorneys present.” The network said that Mr. Wigdor’s firm would make the plaintiffs available only if the interviews “could not be used in any future litigation or proceeding,” a position that Fox News called legally “unreasonable.”
Ms. Areu, who was a frequent guest on Fox News shows but not employed by the network, said in the lawsuit that Mr. Hannity, on set in 2018, urged male members of his crew to take her on a date and referred to her as “a beautiful woman.” She said that Mr. Carlson, after she appeared on his show in 2018, told Ms. Areu that he was staying alone in a Manhattan hotel without his family. She said that Mr. Kurtz, in 2019, invited her to meet him in the lobby of his hotel and was miffed when she declined.
In all three instances, according to the lawsuit, Ms. Areu said that she suffered career repercussions and was rarely invited back to appear on the hosts’ programs. Ms. Areu also said that Gianno Caldwell, a Fox News contributor, inappropriately asked her to lunch in exchange for a meeting with the star pundit Ann Coulter.
Ms. Eckhart and Ms. Areu are seeking damages against Fox News and the defendants for sexual harassment, creating a hostile work environment, retaliation, and in the case of Ms. Eckhart and Mr. Henry, violations of laws against sex trafficking.