Tuesday the Spectator uncovered some problems with sexual harassment claims made by former Fox News guest Cathy Areu against Tucker Carlson. Specifically, the date of the alleged incident and the number of appearances she made on Carlson’s show after the alleged incident were both incorrect. Areu’s attorney admitted she had misremembered the date.
That admission was important because in proved the party that night was not the Fox News Christmas party but a smaller party for Carlson’s staff. And that matters because it doesn’t seem to line up with specific claims Areu made about what Carlson said. Specifically, she had claimed that Carlson had told her he’d only be stopping at the party for a few minutes to show his face. In fact, it was his staff party and he was there for the entire thing. Also Areu claimed Carlson had hinted he’d be alone in his hotel room that night but in fact Carlson’s wife was at the party that night. Today Mediaite has a bit more on the story:
A source familiar with the event told Mediaite that Carlson’s wife did attend the Tucker Carlson Tonight Christmas party. Fox News also told Mediaite that Carlson hosted the entire party for his show’s staff alongside his wife, who stayed in the hotel with him that evening.
So not only was Carlson’s wife at the party, she was with him at the hotel as well. It’s hard to see how Carlson could have told Areu he’d be alone when he must have known his wife would be there and would be with him all night. As for the retaliation part of her claim, that also doesn’t hold up:
Fox told Mediaite that company records indicate Areu appeared on Carlson’s show four times in the four months following the incident, the same number of times she appeared on the show in the four months preceding it. “There is zero evidence of retaliation,” the network claimed. The network also said there were eyewitnesses to Carlson and Areu’s conversation who would contradict her account.
It’s not unusual for women who’ve been sexually harassed to forget some of the details. In this case though, the incident in question is only about 19 months ago and Areu wasn’t responding to questions off the cuff. She sat down with her attorney and presumably had plenty of time to refresh her recollections before they were written into this complaint. The fact that there are other witnesses who remember it differently seems significant.
Her story also isn’t helped by the fact that her claims about an incident involving Sean Hannity also seem to have major problems:
In the lawsuit, Areu claims, she was a “relatively regular” guest on Hannity’s prime-time show until March 8, 2018. “On that day, Mr. Hannity, on set and in front of the entire studio crew – and completely unsolicited – threw $100 on the set desk,” the suit claimed. “He then began calling out to the men in the room and demanding that someone take Ms. Areu out on a date for drinks at Del Friscos. He repeatedly yelled, ‘who wants to take her on a date?’ ‘Take her on a date to Del Friscos.’”
Areu did wind up going next door for drinks at Del Friscos with a man who was there but it turns out he was someone Areu herself had invited:
“Is it ok for me to bring a guest?” Areu apparently wrote in an email to a staffer earlier that day, referring to the guest as “Alex.” She added, “He’s my good luck charm. He does yoga. Very calming. I run. I’m nuts,” before signing the email with a winking face and her name.
And after going out for drinks, Areu sent texts thanking Hannity for the gesture: “Please thank Sean for a fun evening. He shouldn’t have! … but We did exactly as he and Alex’s had bet. Down to the pineapple martini.” All of that seems to cut against the description of what happened in the complaint, which says that Areu failed to “play along” and was “hardly ever” asked to return to the show. As with her claims about retaliation by Tucker Carlson, these claims also don’t seem to add up.
According to Fox News, its records indicate Areu appeared on Hannity a total of nine times between the date of the alleged incident, March 8, 2018, and July 3, 2019. Of that number, Fox said, five appearances took place in the four months directly after the incident.
Five appearances in four months does not equate to “hardly ever” being asked on the show again. Did Areu’s attorney verify anything that she told him?
Again, this doesn’t absolutely prove that nothing awkward or inappropriate happened on these occasions. But the fact that some of Areu’s claims were factually wrong and others seem questionable will obviously make it harder for her story to be believed in court and by the public. I’m still waiting to hear if Areu told anyone else about these incidents at the time (not that long ago) and if what she said then matches up with the complaint.