- The Washington Times - Monday, April 24, 2017

Apparently, the fiascos at Fox aren’t over just yet.

Over the weekend, another woman, Debbie Schlussel, came forward to accuse another Fox News host — Sean Hannity — of sexual harassment. Insert collective groan here.

Hannity is denying. And moreover, he’s vowing to sue — a deviation from the normal she-said, he-did type of harassment accusation that suggests hey, he may truly be innocent.

But here’s the backstory, just the same: Schlussel, a former frequent face on Fox and on Hannity’s show, went on Today’s Pat Campbell show just recently and said, while in Detroit with Hannity on a previous occasion, he repeatedly asked her to come back to his hotel room. She said she declined, and as a result, Hannity never invited her back on his show.

“He tried to get me to go back to the hotel after the show after he and his executive producer Bill Shine treated me horribly,” Schlussel told the Today host, LawNewz reported.

She also tweeted, post-show: “Hannity also got mad at me when I briefly became a redhead and wasn’t blonde and argued w me saying my pants size was 4, which was creepy.”

But Hannity, unlike fellow former Fox star Bill O’Reilly, who reportedly paid out $13 million to various female sexual harassment accusers over the years, isn’t reaching for his wallet. Rather, he’s turned toward his legal team.

And in the eyes of the nation, trying to sift through Fox’s recent sexual harassment claims to find the shreds of truth, this is probably the best indicator of an innocent man. After all, why settle with someone who’s accusing you of something you didn’t do, right?

This is the statement Hannity sent to LawNews: “LET ME CLEAR THE COMMENTS ABOUT ME ON A RADIO SHOW THIS WEEK by this individual ARE 100 [percent] also and a complete fabrication. 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. This individual has not just slandered me over the years but many people who this individual disagrees with.

“This individual,” Hannity went on, “desperately seeks attention by any means necessary, including making unfounded personal attacks and using indefensible and outrageous political rhetoric. My patience with this individual is over. I have retained a team of some of the finest and toughest lawyers in the country who are now in the process of laying out the legal course of action we will be taking against this individual.

“In this fiercely divided and vindictive political climate, I will no longer allow slander and lies about me to go unchallenged,” he finished, “as I see a coordinated effort afoot to now silence those with conservative views. I will fight every single lie about me by all legal means available to me as an American.”

LawNewz does point out Schlussel has made previous accusations against Hannity. In 2010, for instance, she alleged Freedom Alliance was skimming off donations to provide Hannity with perks — something denied by both Hannity and the nonprofit military charity.

So there’s that.

But then again, there’s also this: No matter how you slice it, Fox News has suffered a major public relations ding in recent months. And it’s going to take quite a while for the cable outlet to recover and reemerge as the place not just conservatives, but traditional family advocates, go to get their news. If ever.

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