Political commentator Debbie Schlussel has clarified comments she made about an encounter with Fox News talk show host Sean Hannity — saying he was “creepy” but did not sexually harass her.
Schlussel said in a radio interview Friday that Hannity invited her back to his hotel when she was a guest on his show, which was being taped in Detroit. She said she refused.
“And then after that, I wasn’t booked on the show again. And he called at me and yelled at me,” she said in an interview on the Pat Campbell show on Talk 1170 Radio. “It was made clear to me that I didn’t go back to his hotel with him after ... and I got a very weird feeling about the whole thing, and I kind of knew I wouldn’t be back on his show.”
Hannity responded to the claims in a statement, saying they were “100% false and a complete fabrication.” He said he had retained a team of lawyers “who are now in the process of laying out the legal course of action we will be taking against this individual,” whom he described as a “serial harasser.”
On Monday, Schlussel told law and crime news site LawNewz.com that what happened in Detroit did not amount to sexual harassment by any legal definition.
“Sexual harassment has a special meaning under the law, and I would never accuse him of that,” she said. “I never thought I was sexually harassed by Sean Hannity. I thought he was weird and creepy, not someone I liked.”
Schlussel told LawNewz that she did go back on the show after the incident, which she said occurred in the early 2000s, but was later “banned from Fox News.”
Schlussel’s claim Friday came just as Fox News ousted talk show host Bill O’Reilly over several sexual harassment allegations. O’Reilly has been replaced by Tucker Carlson.
Schlussel has a history with Hannity.
In 2010, she wrote on her blog that concerts put on by the Freedom Alliance charity, which received large personal donations from Hannity, were a “huge scam.” Instead of benefiting children of fallen soldiers, Schlussel wrote, the money went toward private transportation for Hannity and his family.
In a 2010 letter obtained by The Times, the Freedom Alliance defended Hannity to its supporters, saying the allegations were false.
“Freedom Alliance has never provided planes, hotels, cars, limos, or anything else to Sean,” the letter states. “He does not use any Freedom Alliance Funds or Concert funds in any way, period.”