UPDATE: Tuesday, August 9, 2016, 9:35 AM
Politico spoke with an anonymous source with knowledge of the legal proceedings who says Andrea Tantaros did not report the alleged harassment to Fox News executives or the network’s human resources department.
Through a spokesperson, Fox executive vice president Bill Shine told the site: “Andrea never made any complaints to me about Roger Ailes sexually harassing her.”
Fox News host Andrea Tantaros says she also was a target of ex-network boss Roger Ailes’ alleged sexual harassment and eventually was pulled off the air after rebuffing his advances, according to a New York Magazine report out Monday.
Tantaros’ lawyer, Judd Burstein, told the magazine’s Gabriel Sherman that his client told Fox executive vice president Bill Shine, senior vice president Suzanne Scott, and general counsel Dianne Brandi about the alleged sexual harassment and made multiple formal reports about the same. Tantaros was eventually marginalized at the network before she was taken off the air, her attorney said.
“I believe it’s retaliatory,” he told Sherman.
Fox News’ lawyers denied Burstein’s account, saying Tantaros was suspended for violating company policy by not allowing the network to vet her new book, “Tied Up in Knots: How Getting What They Wanted Has Made Women Miserable.” Burstein said the network was embarrassed by the book’s cover, which depicts Tantaros tied up in ropes.
Since fired Fox News host Gretchen Carlson sued Ailes for sexual harassment on July 6, Ailes has strenuously denied mounting allegations of harassment through his attorneys. Fox News did not respond to a request for comment for Sherman’s story.
Speaking through Burstein, Tantaros recounted that Ailes’ alleged sexual harassment began in August 2014, when the then-Fox News CEO allegedly asked the staffer to do “the twirl” to see her body while in his office. Tantaros refused, and Ailes approached her again in mid-December that year, allegedly asking her to “Come over here so I can give you a hug,” Burstein told Sherman.
Two months later, in February 2015, Tantaros was yanked off her gig hosting the the network’s 5 p.m. news and commentary program “The Five” and slotted into hosting Fox News’ mid-afternoon show, “Outnumbered.” Burstein recounted that Ailes again harassed Tantaros in his office that month, allegedly asking about her workout routine because her body “looked good” and observing that she would “really look good in a bikini.”
Tantaros lodged a formal workplace harassment complaint on April 30, 2015 with Shine, according to the report. When she met with the executive the next day, Shine allegedly told her, “Roger is a very powerful man” and advised she “should not fight this.”
The Fox News anchor reportedly made additional complaints to Shine and Scott over the next year. Several weeks before she was suspended in April 2016, Tantaros hired Burstein to represent her in the dispute.
“All of a sudden, the book became this big issue,” he told Sherman.
Tantaros is still employed by Fox News. Burstein said she is breaching her confidentiality clause and telling her side of the story now because “she doesn’t have the same fear of being attacked by the Fox PR machine, and the Murdochs have made it clear they want to clean up the place.”
Tantaros made her name as an outspoken soldier of the conservative culture war, lobbing attacks at President Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and feminism on Fox News. Her departure from “Outnumbered,” a show that features a cast of female hosts questioning a male guest was marked by no ceremony. Tantaros, an active social media user, also has locked down her Twitter account, where her bio still lists her as a Fox co-host.