Sean Hannity Is The Latest Fox News Anchor To Deny Sexual Harassment Allegations
On Friday, less than a week after Bill O'Reilly's official termination from Fox News, another host from the network, Sean Hannity, faced allegations of sexual harassment, this time by former Fox News guest Debbie Schlussel. Schlussel initially made her claim on Friday, but later clarified her comments that it was not, in fact, sexual harassment.
In response to Schlussel's initial allegation, Hannity released a statement forcefully denying it. "LET ME BE CLEAR THE COMMENTS ABOUT ME ON A RADIO SHOW THIS WEEK by this individual ARE 100% false and a complete fabrication," the statement read. "This individual is a serial harasser who has been lying about me for well over a decade. The individual has a history of making provably false statements against me in an effort to slander, smear and besmirch my reputation. The individual has not just slandered me over the years but many people who this individual disagrees with."
Schlussel said that after rejecting advances from Hannity on two occasions, she ceased to be invited back for guest appearances on his program. One of the alleged encounters took place at Hannity's book signing that Schlussel claimed he invited her to. At the event, Schlussel allegedly said Hannity asked her, "Why don't you come back with me to my hotel?" (Hannity has denied all of Schlussel's claims.)
She allegedly declined, telling him she had to get ready for the taping of his show. Schlussel claimed that the taping went badly; she allegedly said Hannity and his executive producer treated her "horribly," and that Hannity tried to get her to go to his hotel with him after the show. She claimed that she again turned down the offer.
Schlussel's later effort to tone down the severity of the language surrounding her accusations noted that she wouldn't describe her experiences as amounting to "sexual harassment." Schlussel originally made the claims on The Pat Campbell Show, broadcast from Tulsa, Oklahoma. Hannity currently hosts the self-titled talk show Hannity on Fox News.
"After [the incident] I wasn't booked on his show again," she allegedly said. "And he called me and yelled at me, and it was made clear to me that I didn't go back to his hotel with him after and all this other stuff, and I got a very weird feeling about the whole thing, and I kind of knew I wouldn't be back on his show."
In his statement to LawNewz.com denying the allegations, Hannity added:
The Fox News host said in his statement that Schlussel's allegations were "a coordinated effort afoot to now silence those with conservative views." Notably, Schlussel, like Hannity, is also a conservative.
Hannity's full statement read:
In a Monday interview with LawNewz.com, Schlussel said, "I would never accuse him of that. Sexual harassment has a special meaning under the law, and I would never accuse him of that." She added, "I never thought I was sexually harassed by Sean Hannity, I thought he was weird and creepy not someone I liked."
O'Reilly may have been booted from of Fox News, but Schlussel's recent claims indicate that its PR problems persist.