Yesterday, a sexual harassment was filed involving two women who have made allegations about several hosts (and one former reporter) at Fox News. One of the allegations involves Tucker Carlson. The person making the complaint is a former frequent guest on his show named Cathy Areu. According to the complaint, Carlson made a kind of proposition in advance of a Christmas Party that took place in December 2018, about 18 months ago. I’m going to quote most of the complaint against Carlson because nearly all of these details turn out to be important.
In 2017 and 2018, Ms. Areu appeared on a very frequent basis on Tucker Carlson Tonight (17 times, at least, in 2018 alone). Ms. Areu’s final 2018 appearance on the show was in December 2018. That show was filmed live in New York City and Mr. Carlson was in New York City at the studio.
After Ms. Areu’s segment was completed, one of Mr. Carlson’s producers or writers whispered in Ms. Areu’s ear, while she was on set trying to get out of the chair, and told her that Mr. Carlson wanted her to stay until the very end of the show to chat with him…
Following the show, Mr. Carlson changed on set into his leather jacket for the annual Christmas party that he told Ms. Areu he would only be attending for approximately 10 minutes to, “make a quick appearance.”
Following the show, Mr. Carlson, hardly making any effort to hide his intentions, began telling Ms. Areu that he would be alone in New York City that night, and specifically said that he would be staying alone in his hotel room without any wife or kids.
Without question, Mr. Carlson was probing to see whether Ms. Areu was interested in a sexual relationship. Ms. Areu awkwardly sidestepped Mr. Carlson’s advances and declined to spend the night at his hotel. Mr. Carlson promptly retaliated against Ms. Areu, who was featured on his show only three times in 2019 and has not appeared once in 2020.
So that’s the story. No touching. No specific quotes about what Carlson allegedly said (beyond “make a quick appearance”), but the suggestion that he was trying to invite her to his hotel room.
But a reporter for the Spectator has already uncovered some obvious problems with this account. For one thing, Areu’s attorney said definitively that the party in question happened on December 10, 2018. And that is the night that the Fox News Christmas Party took place. However, Cathy Areu wasn’t on Carlson’s show that night. She wasn’t on the show that month until December 28, several days after Christmas and clearly not when anyone was hosting a Christmas Party.
Asked about the problem, Areu’s lawyer sent the Spectator a link to a video posted on YouTube on December 1 as if that settled the matter. That video is from a previous appearance on November 30:
The lawyer later admitted during a phone conversation with me that the dates were mixed up due to errors in Areu’s recollection and that the alleged incident did take place on November 30, 2018. The Spectator has learned that the Tucker Carlson Tonight Christmas party for the program’s small staff took place that evening in New York City. Carlson’s wife attended the party. This sits oddly with Areu’s claim that Carlson told her he would not be with his wife and children that evening.
Areu also alleged that Carlson told her he was only going to attend the party for 10 minutes to ‘make an appearance’. It is unlikely Carlson would have said that about a party for his own staff, particularly considering The Spectator learned he attended the entire thing.
So the complaint has the wrong date but it’s more than that. Areu’s attorney admits she mixed up the dates and that’s potentially significant because the one quote in the complaint which is attributed to Carlson is the one where he says he’s only going to put in a 10 minute appearance. That’s something you might say about a big party where your absence wouldn’t be missed (like the Fox News party on Dec. 10). It’s probably not something you’d say about your own, smaller staff party. So is the quote wrong? Was Areu thinking of the larger Fox party when she recalled that statement? It really doesn’t make a lot of sense in this context.
Finally, the big thing here is that Carlson’s wife was at the party on Nov 30. Presumably that can be confirmed by the people who were there. If accurate, was she staying at another hotel? Was his wife flying home that night? It’s possible, I guess, that Carlson was staying in a hotel alone that night even though his wife attended the party. Carlson and his wife apparently have four kids so maybe she wanted to get home to them. But it does seem to put the party in a different light.
There’s another error in the complaint. Areu claims that after refusing Carlson’s implied offer, she was only asked on the show three more times.
The lawsuit says Carlson retaliated against Areu’s rejection of his ‘advances’ by limiting her appearances on his program. In 2019, for example, the lawsuit says she only appeared three times. A review of Grabien shows that Areu appeared on the program at least five times in 2019: March 1, March 21, May 24, August 20, and November 6.
None of these mistakes proves that what Areu claims happened didn’t happen. But this isn’t a claim about something that allegedly happened 20 or more years ago. This supposedly happened 17 months ago and yet it appears Areu’s memory isn’t terribly accurate. The mistakes also suggest that her attorney didn’t spend a lot of time fact-checking her claims before including them in this document. That definitely doesn’t help his client’s case.
Here’s a clip of Areu’s appearance on Nov. 30, 2018.