A lawsuit filed Monday in the New York Supreme Court describes Fox News’ corporate culture as one that allows sexual misconduct in the workplace. Cable News host Andrea Tantaros claims in the document that the company promotes “intimidation, indecency and misogyny” behind the scenes. The names involved in the lawsuit are Roger Ailes, former network head Roger Ailes, host Bill O’Reilly, and US Senator Scott Brown.
Tantaros, who used to be co-host of the Fox News daytime program “Outnumbered”, says top executives removed her from her on-air role on April 25 in retaliation for making a sexual harassment complaint, as reported by the Los Angeles Times. The network has not offered any comments on Tantaros’ lawsuit, but it had previously informed that her removal had followed her decision of not letting management vet her book “Tied Up in Knots” before promoting it in the show.
In contrast, she claims the whole thing is about her complaint regarding Ailes’ sexual harassment, which he has firmly denied. Her suit alleges top executives covered her claims up. Former anchor Gretchen Carlson sued Ailes in July for allegedly sabotaging her career after she rebuffed his sexual advances and complained about a work environment apparently hostile. Two weeks after Carlson’s lawsuit the former network head resigned on July 20 and Bill Shine was promoted to co-president.
The law firm Paul Weiss conducted an internal investigation and interviewed some Fox News employees after Carlson filed her lawsuit, but Tantaros’ document claims she was not among them.
“Fox News masquerades as a defender of traditional family values,” Tantaros claims in the suit, according to the Boston Globe. “But behind the scenes, it operates like a sex-fueled, Playboy Mansion-like cult, steeped in intimidation, indecency, and misogyny.”
Tantaros’ suit alleges that Shine and others, including network’s attorney Dianne Brandi, programming executive Suzanne Scott and communications chief Irena Briganti, all took part in joining efforts to stop Tantaros from speaking about by threatening and humiliating her.
Details about alleged sexual harassment by Scott Brown
Former US Senator Scott Brown is also accused in the lawsuit. The document reads that he made sexually inappropriate comments to Tantaros on set while appearing on her show “Outnumbered” in August 2015 and that he even put his hands on her lower waist while she was purchasing lunch after the show was over. The lawsuit claims she immediately told him to stop.
Tantaros alleges that Brown suggested her it would have been fun to go to a nightclub with her. She claims that she immediately complained about it with Shine and asked him to make sure Brown would never be booked on her show again. Brown continued to be booked on the show even though Shine told Tantaros he would address the whole situation.
Brown sent an email to the Boston Globe shortly after hearing the details of Tantaros’ claims, saying all of her accusations were false.
“Her statement about our limited on air, green room interactions are false,” Brown said. “There were never any circumstances of any kind whatsoever in which I had any interaction with her or any other employee at Fox, outside the studio.”
Brown also pointed out that he does not go to clubs and that he treated everyone in the New York studio the same regardless of their gender. He added that all of the interactions between him and Tantaros had always been “in full view of all staff, personnel and talent” and that had his attitude towards her had been “professional and cordial” during any chance encounters at public places.
Source: Los Angeles Times