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Fired Fox News Anchor Must Face ‘Revenge Porn Allegations, Judge Rules

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Fired Fox News Anchor Must Face ‘Revenge Porn Allegations, Judge Rules

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Fired Fox News Anchor Must Face ‘Revenge Porn Allegations, Judge Rules
Fired Fox News Anchor Must Face ‘Revenge Porn Allegations, Judge Rules

This week, a federal judge denied former Fox News host Ed Henry's motion to dismiss charges of violating New York City's so-called revenge porn laws against his sexual harassment accuser.

U.S. District Judge Ronnie Abrams also ruled that former Fox co-producer Jennifer Eckhart's sex trafficking allegations against Henry could be prosecuted, though the judge threw out several episodes of Henry's revenge for posting obscene and "intimate" photos of Eckhart. . .

Weeks after Henry was fired from Fox News in July 2020 following allegations of "deliberate sexual harassment at work," Eckhart filed a brutal lawsuit alleging the veteran journalist sexually harassed him "in a sadistic manner without his consent." he acted accordingly. from which he was injured. . , bruised and beaten with bloody wrists." Henry vehemently denied all allegations.

Eckhart later accused Henry of "shaming a prostitute" when his legal team added 15 revealing photos to a lawsuit to dismiss a former Fox employee's lawsuit, prompting Eckhart to press "revenge porn" charges. and additional retaliation. Meanwhile, Henry's legal team argued that providing the photographs was a "reasonable defense" against Eckhart's "inflammation" claims.

Last September, Abrams filed an Eckhart lawsuit against Henry and Fox News, though at the time Abrams denied sex trafficking, a federally hostile work environment, and "aid and abet" allegations against the network. Eckhart's claims of retaliation and a hostile work environment against Fox News continue under New York law.

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"We continue to vigorously defend Fox against Jennifer Eckhart's unsubstantiated allegations," Fox News Media said in a statement last fall. “As we said before, after we first learned about Ms. Eckhart v. Ed Henry, Fox News Media immediately launched a thorough independent investigation and fired Mr. Eckhart within six days. Henry rightly so. We hope to demonstrate through this investigation that FOX News Media takes allegations of harassment seriously and acted appropriately."

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While the judge said in his ruling this week that Eckhart's "revenge porn" charges would be filed, Abrams told Henry he could still use the footage as part of his defense when the case went to trial. However, he told Henry's attorneys that they must obtain permission from the court before using the photographs as evidence.

“There is no question that the factual allegations in the complaint are inflammatory and the court finds that Henry vehemently denies them,” he wrote. “He certainly has the right to defend himself in public and he does so with passion. However, the court did not deny this right. For example, it does not impose a deletion ban or decide that the photos cannot be viewed in time."

In his complaint, Eckhart accused Henry of "holding, manipulating and forcing" him into a "sex slave" relationship. He also claimed that when he disapproved of the sex, the married landlord "raped him on office property and raped him in a hotel frequented by Fox News employees."

While allegations of "revenge porn" and sex trafficking against Henry would continue, Abrams agreed to drop some of the retaliation charges because, when Henry posted the photos, he was no longer an employee of Fox News.

"Retaliation claims under both statutes are limited to the employment context, or at least to situations where the parties have a 'strong economic relationship,'" the judge wrote. “When the photos were submitted, there was no employment relationship between Henry and Eckhart, nor a 'sustainable financial relationship.'

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Lawyers for Eckhart and Henry did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Henry, who currently works for Steve Bannon's right channel, Real America's Voice, hasn't been happy in court lately.

Last spring, libel lawsuits against NPR, CNN, and several NPR reporters were voluntarily dismissed with "prejudice," meaning he was unable to reopen the case at all. Henry claimed that CNN and NPR reporters' "longstanding hatred of people associated with Fox News and/or the company" clouded coverage of his firing.

Also, the defamation case against Fox News was dismissed last week when a judge ruled that Henry failed to prove that the sexual harassment allegations made by his former employer that led to his firing were false.

Read more at the Daily Beast.

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