Fox News host Andrea Tantaros has joined the growing chorus of women accusing Fox's just-deposed chief, Roger Ailes, of sexual harassment. However, in this case, Tantaros is also pointing a finger at some senior Fox News management.
According to Tantaros’s account, Ailes began harassing her on August 12, 2014. During a meeting in Ailes’s office, Ailes allegedly asked Tantaros to do “the twirl” so he could see her figure. She refused. Then, in mid-December of that year, Ailes made another advance, Burstein says. “Ailes asked her to turn around, and then he said, ‘Come over here so I can give you a hug.’” Tantaros rebuffed the advance, Burstein says.
In February 2015, Tantaros was pulled off the 5 p.m. program The Five and demoted to working full-time on the midday show Outnumbered. In February 2015, according to Burstein, Ailes allegedly harassed Tantaros again in his office, asking about her workout routine because her body “looked good” and mentioning that she must “really look good in a bikini.”
As with the story of former Fox booker Laurie Luhn, who claimed to have been sexually harassed for 20 years by Ailes, the most significant details are probably the least salacious. In Sherman’s reporting on Luhn, executive vice president Bill Shine and general counsel Dianne Brandi were implicated in the cover up. But, through her attorney, Judd Burstein, Tantaros directly implicates Shine, Brandi and senior vice president Suzanne Scott.
On April 30, 2015, Tantaros filed a formal workplace harassment complaint about Ailes to Shine, Burstein says. The following day, Burstein says, Tantaros met with Shine to further discuss her harassment claims. Shine allegedly told her, “Roger is a very powerful man,” and that she “should not fight this.”
In August, her agent spoke with Brandi about the episode; according to the agent, Brandi said she would look into the matter but did not follow up.
In April, Tantaros was suspended from appearing on Fox, supposedly over a contract issue. According to Sherman, Fox stands by that claim.
Recently, it was reported that the law firm hired by Fox parent 21st Century Fox was winding down its independent investigation into Ailes’ sexual harassment, now that he has been forced out of the network. Between this report and yesterday’s report about Ailes using corporate funds to smear his enemies, it looks increasingly unlikely that anyone will be able to say, “There’s nothing else here, time to move along.”
Crossposted at Newshounds.us