“A sex-fueled, Playboy Mansion-like cult, steeped in intimidation, indecency, and misogyny.”
Former Fox News Host, Andrea Tantaros, filed a sexual harassment complaint against the network Monday.
The complaint went full scorched Earth, accusing Former Fox News CEO, Roger Ailes, Fox News Host Bill O’Reilly, and former Senator Scott Brown of making unwanted advances.
Fox News has said they cannot comment on pending litigation, but the entire ordeal is a nasty “he said, she said” affair. Tantaros’ legal troubles began earlier this year when Fox News accused her of breach of contract for writing a book without first obtaining the network’s approval. Tantaros alleges the network is using the book kerfuffle to silence her sexual harassment complaints, and the network contends she’s attempting to draw attention away from the alleged breach of contract.
Tantaros went public with sexual harassment allegations against Ailes in early August, claiming he made sexually charged comments on her appearance and asked her to “turn around” so he could get a look at her.
In the lawsuit, Tantaros’s attorney Judd Burstein describes Fox News as a “a sex-fueled, Playboy Mansion-like cult, steeped in intimidation, indecency, and misogyny” and describes Ailes as a “sexual predator” who “did not act alone.” Tantaros alleges Ailes retaliated against her for rebuffing his advances by removing her from The Five and ordering the Fox News media relations department to turn against her.
Fox News says the network does not comment on pending litigation. A source with knowledge of the legal proceedings told BuzzFeed News earlier in August that Tantaros was removed from Fox News air over a contract dispute involving her book.
The lawsuit names several men who Tantaros claims made unwanted sexual comments or advances toward her, including O’Reilly, Brown, Fox News correspondent John Roberts, on-air guest Ben Collins, and actor Dean Cain. None of these men, however, are named as defendants in the case.
Tantaros claims O’Reilly began sexually harassing her in February 2016, when he invited her out to Long Island where it would be “very private.”
From the lawsuit: “O’Reilly (‘O’Reilly’), whom Tantaros had considered to be a good friend and a person from whom she sought career guidance, started sexually harassing her by, inter alia, (a) asking her to come to stay with him on Long Island where it would be ‘very private,’ and (b) telling her on more than one occasion that he could ‘see [her] as a wild girl,’ and that he believed that she had a ‘wild side.’”
Tantaros claims Fox News executive vice president Dianne Brandi informed her that she would no longer appear on the O’Reilly Factor after her complaints.
Brown has denied the allegations.
Tantaros’ account of the alleged Brown harassment:
“On or about August 18, 2015, former Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown appeared on Outnumbered. Brown made a number of sexually inappropriate comments to Tantaros on set, including, and in a suggestive manner, that Tantaros ‘would be fun to go to a nightclub with.’ After the show was over, Brown snuck up behind Tantaros while she was purchasing lunch and put his hands on her lower waist. She immediately pulled back, telling Brown to ‘stop.’ Tantaros then immediately met with Shine to complain, asking him to ensure that Brown would never be booked on the show again. Shine said that he would talk to Scott. Thereafter, Shine and Scott ignored Tantaros’s complaint, and continued to book Brown on Outnumbered.”
And Brown’s statement from Massachusetts news outlet, WMUR:
Brown said in a statement that Tantaro’s claims are false and he just learned about the allegations.
“For the record, her statement about our limited on air, green room interactions are false. 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 said in a statement to WMUR. “If there was ever a chance encounter at a restaurant, or public place, all interactions were professional and cordial. All interactions and contacts were in the studio in NYC and always in full view of all staff, personnel and talent.”
Brown went on to say, “In the three years I gave been working there, I treat all people there the same, whether they be male or female.”
Brown added he looks forward to making a witness statement in the case.
“If I am asked to make a witness statement of some sort, I look forward to that opportunity,” Brown said in the statement. “In addition, I don’t go to clubs. Not how I speak. I would suggest you view the shows. There were never any issues that I was aware of and my schedule never changed. In fact, I have worked more this year than any other year.”
Also named in the complaint? Internet “sock puppets”. Yes, really. From the NYT:
Ms. Tantaros also claimed in the lawsuit that she was the subject of humiliating posts by pseudonymous accounts on Twitter known as “sock puppets” that she says were instigated by the Fox News publicity department.
Ailes resigned as CEO of Fox News in July amid rumors he was asked to vacate his position over a bevy of sexual harassment allegations.
Full complaint here:
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