Hannity accuser backtracks on sexual harassment claim

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Former Fox News guest Debbie Schlussel appeared on a local radio show Friday and described an incident during which Sean Hannity allegedly asked her to a hotel, an advance which she purportedly rebuffed. Following the encounter, Schlussel asserts that she was “banned from Fox News.”

Schlussel’s story went viral, garnering accusatory headlines about Hannity. On Monday, in an interview with LawNewz.com, Schlussel stood by her description of the incident, yet denied being sexually harassed by Hannity. Schlussel, who is an attorney, claims that the situation that occurred between them in no way met the legal definition of sexual harassment.

“I would never accuse him of that. Sexual harassment has a special meaning under the law, and I would never accuse him of that,” Schlussel said.

According to Schlussel, the incident occurred in the early 2000’s when Hannity was in Detroit taping a 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,” she said Friday on the radio program. Schlussel later clarified that Hannity did not invite her to his hotel room, but rather his hotel. Following the incident, Schlussel appeared on Hannity’s show, but after that was “banned from Fox News.”

“I never thought I was sexually harassed by Sean Hannity,” Schlussel said. “I thought he was weird and creepy, not someone I liked,” Schlussel said.

Hannity responded to Schlussel’s Friday claims by issuing a pointed statement denying her story, and claiming that he would pursue legal action against Schlussel for possible libel.

“LET ME BE CLEAR THE COMMENTS ABOUT ME ON A RADIO SHOW THIS WEEK by this individual ARE 100% false and a complete fabrication,” Hannity said. “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 told LawNewz.com that Hannity’s claims were “laughable,” and that she is considering countersuing him for calling her a “serial harasser” on Sunday.

“It’s defamatory,” Schlussel said, “Everything I said was true, and truth is an absolute bar to defamation. He, on the other hand, has a murky record on truth.”

Schlussel has made allegations against Hannity in the past. In 2010, Schlussel, who Gawker claimed at the time was a “crazy birther blogger,” posted a blog contending that the “Freedom Alliance,” a war veteran charity supported by Hannity, was skimming donations, and running a “huge scam.”

Thomas Kilgannon, the charity’s founder and president, retorted in a 2010 note to donors: “the blog posting accuses our friend Sean Hannity of personally benefiting from Freedom Alliance. This is FALSE. Freedom Alliance has never provided planes, hotels, cars, limos, or anything else to Sean. Sean gets nothing from Freedom Alliance except our gratitude for his personal generosity and for all he has done to help the troops and our organization.” Over the past several years, the charity has reportedly received more than a million dollars in donations from Hannity.

H/T: Law Newz

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