E! News anchor and author Ken Baker has become the latest Hollywood player to be accused of sexual harassment. The anchor had been appearing on the air in recent weeks, expressing his disgust over the dozens of women who have come forward with allegations of sexual abuse, assault and harassment against Harvey Weinstein, but now two former E! News employees have come forward and revealed that Ken Baker has sexually harassed them. E! has responded to the allegations by taking Ken Baker off the air and launching their own investigation into the matter. Here's what Ken Baker had to say in a statement earlier today.
"I am very disturbed by these anonymous allegations, which make my heart ache. I take them very seriously. I care deeply for people's feelings and sincerely live in a way that treats people with dignity and respect."
The first accuser, a former E! News employee, revealed that in 2012, Ken Baker called her into his "dimly-lit office," and at one point, asked her to sit on his lap. He had called her in to look at a script, and she needed to lean across him to see the screen, which is when he said she could sit on him. She added that the comment could have been taken as a joke, but he then pushed his chair back so she could actually sit on his lap. She added that he often made "inappropriate comments" or touched her in ways that made her feel uncomfortable, and that after that incident, she made it a point to make sure that other young women weren't alone in a room with Baker. Here's what the accuser, speaking under the condition of anonymity, had to say about his inappropriate behavior.
"He makes physical comments like, 'That's a really cute outfit' or 'That's a really tight shirt.' He would put his hand on my waist and leave it there too long. I almost feel like it's a power trip. It's like, 'I can do these things.'"
The second accuser, also speaking under the condition of anonymity, was a former intern at E! News, who said Baker kissed her without consent in 2011 and propositioned her for sex numerous times over the years, and in 2015, he wanted to give her a "Tiffany dildo with Ken Baker engraved on the shaft." The Wrap was provided with a screenshot of the text where Baker asked if he could send her that "gift." The ex-intern's story was corroborated by the first accuser, along with the ex-intern's life coach, who is also speaking under the condition of anonymity, and said that she wanted to report Ken Baker immediately after the ex-intern showed her the texts. The ex-intern didn't want to turn him in, worried that she might lose career opportunities if she came forward. Here's what E! News had to say in a statement about the allegations.
"E! has a longstanding commitment to providing a safe working environment in which everyone is treated with respect and dignity. We take all complaints of misconduct seriously, and thoroughly investigate all allegations of harassment."
None of the women said that Ken Baker threatened them in any way, but Baker continued to send inappropriate texts for the next four years, after the internship ended. One day, she told him that the texts had to stop, and he apologized while also setting up a meeting for the ex-intern with a casting director. The ex-intern added that she thought that meeting was a way of him admitting that he had crossed the line. Baker was accused of sexual misconduct a decade ago as well, during his stint as West Cast bureau chief for US Weekly, where he hired his children's nanny as a reporter and sent her texts such as, "I want to have sex with you" and "I want to see you pregnant with pigtails." He was hired by E! News in 2008, and in 2009, the lawsuit was dismissed.
Baker, 47, is also an author, whose 2001 memoir Man Made: A Memoir of My Body, detailed his struggles with what he called a "hormonal health crisis" in his late teens, when a benign brain tumor "flooded" his body with hormones that diminished his sex drive. The tumor was removed in 1998, when he said he became a "hormonally healthy man." His memoir was the inspiration for the 2016 movie The Late Bloomer, starring Johnny Simmons and Kumail Nanjiani, directed by Kevin Pollak. He is also promoting his new book The Ken Commandments, about his search to find God in Hollywood. You can read the full report on Ken Baker from The Wrap.