Sean Hannity is the latest Fox News mega-star to be accused of sexual harassment. Over the weekend, during an interview with a Tulsa, Oklahoma radio show, Debbie Schlussel claimed Hannity had invited her back to his hotel room before and after an appearance on his show. Debbie Schlussel is a author and political commentator who was invited on Hannity’s show to debate another guest. The accusation has come in the wake of another Fox mega-star, Bill O’Reilly, being fired from Fox News for multiple sexual harassment allegations.
Specifically, Debbie Schlussel’s claim is based on a sequence of events that happened. First, Schlussel claims Hannity invited her to meet him at a book signing. After the book signing, she said Hannity invited her back to his hotel. She declined the invitation saying ” I have to get ready for the show.” Next, after the show, Schlussel claims that Hannity invited her back to his hotel a second time. She stated that she turned him down again and that Hannity became angry. Schlussel describes the incidents as weird and creepy. Finally, she alludes to the fact that she was never again invited to be on Hannity’s show as punishment for her rejecting hannity’s alleged advances.
Sean Hannity has aggressively denied Schlussel’s claims. He has stated that her claims are “100 percent false and a complete fabrication.” Hannity went on to call Schlussel a ” serial harasser who has been lying about me for well over a decade.” He has also threatened to sue her. Hannity also went on to characterize Schlussel’s allegation as part of a “coordinated effort afoot to now silence those with conservative views.” In all fairness to Sean Hannity, as of Monday, April 24th, Debbie Schlussel has partially walked back the comments she made over the weekend. She now emphasizes that Hannity did not specifically invite her back to his hotel “room” rather he invited her back to his hotel. However, she still claims the incident made her feel weird and it was creepy.
This latest allegation against a Fox News personality raises a slew of questions. Is there, as Sean Hannity says, a coordinated effort to silence conservative views? In this case, that is a hard argument to make stick.
Debbie Schlussel is a long time Republican and conservative commentator. She is heavily involved with the Michigan Republican Party and has also ran for office as Republican candidate. However, in the broader since, one can make a strong case that the media tends to target Republicans more than Democrats when it comes to alleged scandals.
The most important question is obvious. Does the Fox News Network encourage a culture where sexual harassment against women is acceptable? The evidence has mounted to the point where some would answer in the affirmative. It all began with the forced resignation of Roger Ailes, former Chairman and CEO of the Fox News Network. It was almost confirmed that Ailes was a serial sexual harasser. Then, the fall of Bill O’Reilly for similar behavior, begs the question. No matter the answer, one thing is obvious. The Fox News Network needs to address these issues. Fast.