E! News’ Ken Baker Accused of Sexual Harassment, From an Unwanted Kiss to a Sex-Toy Text (Photo)

Baker has been taken off the air while E! I investigates

Since the Harvey Weinstein scandal broke, E! News correspondent Ken Baker has appeared on the air expressing disgust at the shamed mogul’s behavior. But two women who have worked with Baker told TheWrap he has his own history of sexual harassment.

One former E! News employee said that in 2012, he called her into his dimly lit office and, after a few minutes, invited her to sit on his lap. Another woman, a former E! News intern, said he kissed her without her consent in 2011, propositioned her for sex repeatedly over several years, and, in 2015, texted her that he wanted to give her “a Tiffany dildo with ‘Ken Baker’ engraved on the shaft.” (See image below.)

“I am very disturbed by these anonymous allegations, which make my heart ache. I take them very seriously,” Baker said in a statement to TheWrap. “I care deeply for people’s feelings and sincerely live in a way that treats people with dignity and respect.”

Ken Baker screenshotThe ex-intern’s version of events was corroborated by both the former employee and a career coach who says she complained to her years ago about inappropriate texts from Baker. All three spoke to TheWrap on condition of anonymity.

The coach told TheWrap she was “furious” when the ex-intern showed her the texts.

“I wanted to report that day, but I had to respect her wishes. She did not want me to do anything. She said I’ll handle it,” the coach told TheWrap. “I tried to convince her. I really did.”

None of the women accused Baker of making threats, but the intern worried that if she came forward, she might lose career opportunities. So, she said, she tried to brush Baker off jokingly, without offending him.

Baker continued sending inappropriate texts more than four years after the internship ended, the intern said, so she finally sent him a text saying, in no uncertain terms, that the texts had to stop. He apologized, she said, and the next day got her a meeting with a casting director. She took that as an admission from Baker that he had crossed the line.

“E! has a longstanding commitment to providing a safe working environment in which everyone is treated with respect and dignity,” the network said in a statement to TheWrap. “We take all complaints of misconduct seriously, and thoroughly investigate all allegations of harassment.”

Baker will not appear on the air while E! investigates.

Baker, a 47-year-old former hockey player, has written extensively about what he calls a “hormonal health crisis” in his late teens and twenties. His 2001 memoir, which inspired last year’s comedy film “The Late Bloomer,” describes how a benign brain tumor “flooded” his body with “massive amounts” of a hormone that diminished his sex drive, softened his muscle tone, sometimes caused impotence, and gave him swollen, sore nipples that leaked milky fluid. He wrote that after the tumor’s removal in 1998, he became a “hormonally healthy man.”

He has been accused of crossing lines before. A 2007 lawsuit, filed against Baker when he was West Coast bureau chief of Us Weekly, said he hired his children’s nanny as a reporter and texted her, “I want to have sex with you,” and “I want to see you pregnant with pigtails.” He was hired by E! News a year later, and a year after that, the lawsuit was dismissed.

The former employee who shared the “lap” story said he often made inappropriate comments, or touched her in ways that made her uncomfortable.

“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,” she told TheWrap. “I almost feel like it’s a power trip. It’s like, ‘I can do these things.'”

At one point, in 2012, Baker asked her to look at a script in his office, she said. There was no one else nearby, and she needed to lean across him to see the screen, she said. Baker didn’t move to make it easier, and then he suggested, “Or you could just sit on my lap,” she said.

Like many of his comments, she said, it could have been taken as a joke. But she said he then “kind of pushed back in his chair a little bit,” so she could actually sit on his lap.

She said she would make a point after that to try to prevent other young women from having to be alone with Baker.

The ex-intern said she first met Baker in 2011, in an elevator. “He kind of looked at me and I could see in his eyes he thought I was cute,” she said.

At some point, they began having talks in his office. She said she was looking for career help or advice, but he would turn the conversations personal, she said.

“I thought he would be more of a mentor,” she said. “He was telling me about how his marriage was failing and about his kids.”

Once, as she left his office, he asked for a hug — and then unexpectedly kissed her on the mouth, she said.

“He kind of walked me to the door, gave me a hug and tried to pull one on me and managed to land it,” she said. “He wanted a long kiss but it was more of a peck… I was like, ‘Whoa, get the f— off'”

He continued texting her for years after her internship, asking for sex, she said.

“There was lots of text messaging. He would always twist it. Always make it sexual,” she added.

The intern had a tendency to tell crass, goofy jokes, and didn’t hold grudges — which Baker used to his advantage, she said.

She showed the texts to the employee and the coach. All three said Baker wrote about being “horny,” invited the intern to come to his house, made inappropriate jokes, and requested photos.

The career coach said of the intern: “She’s crass, but she was terrified… She said she could defend herself with jokes. It’s kind of like a nervous reaction to protect herself, to normalize the situation.”

The coach told TheWrap she was appalled to see Baker talking about the Weinstein accusations this month on E! News. In one online segment, he said he had spoken to Dr. Drew Pinske about past sex scandals.

“He said that it’s never a one-off. It’s never a two-off. It is a pattern,” Baker said. “You’re not in control of your behavior, and you’re just going until you get caught. … It’s a pattern and you’re going to do it until you get busted.”

Baker is currently promoting his new book “The Ken Commandments,” about his search for God and spirituality in Hollywood. As part of his book tour, he held an interview with Public Libraries Online  in which he said reporting on Hollywood has given him more sensitivity.

“Even a guy like Harvey Weinstein, who I think pretty much everyone can agree was exhibiting monstrous behavior, I have learned, that even for someone like that, to have compassion and I think that’s something really important,” he said. “It’s hard to articulate, because what I find is if I start exhibiting compassion for someone like that in what I do, I notice that the mass audiences will be like, “Oh he deserves nothing.” There’s so much vitriol. If we react to a monster in a monstrous way are we better? Or are we just on their level?”