If Roger Ailes hadn’t already been forced out as Fox News chairman and CEO, this likely would have sealed it.
Andrea Tantaros, popular former co-host of “The Five” and, later, “Outnumbered”, has joined Gretchen Carlson, Megyn Kelly, and at least 20 others in coming forward to say Ailes sexually harassed her on several occasions before leaving the air in April.
New York Magazine’s Gabriel Sherman reported Tantaros was taken off the air after she came forward with the allegations to senior Fox executives, including Executive Vice President Bill Shine, General Counsel Dianne Brandi and Senior Vice President Suzanne Scott. Her lawyer, Judd Burstein, told Sherman, “She made multiple harassment and hostile-workplace complaints. As far as Tantaros knows, Fox executives never investigated her complaints.” Instead, according to Burstein, Fox pulled her from the air. “I believe it’s retaliatory,” he said.
Through a FNC spokesperson, Fox News Senior EVP of Programming Bill Shine said “Andrea never made any complaints to me about Roger Ailes sexually harassing her.”
According to Tantaros’s account through her attorney, the harassment began on Aug. 12, 2014 when Ailes allegedly asked the anchor to do “the twirl” in his office so he’s could see her figure. She refused that advance, but a few months later, in mid-December, Ailes asked her to turn around, then to “Come over here so I can give you a hug.” This advance was also rebuffed by Tantaros.
Sherman detailed what he said happened next:
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.”
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.
After making more complaints to Shine and Scott over the course of the next year, Tantaros was suspended from the network in April 2016. “All of a sudden, the book became this big issue,” Burstein says.
When the popular anchor was pulled from the air in April just a day after the release of her new book, Fox said that it was a temporary contract issue. The network now claims that Tantaros was suspended because she didn’t let them screen her book, which was a violation of company policy.
Twitter, of course, is abuzz with reaction:
Fox host Andrea Tantaros says she made harassment claims against Ailes and Fox execs Bill Shine & Dianne Brandi knewhttps://t.co/AslrO9vfSL
— Gabriel Sherman (@gabrielsherman) August 8, 2016
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) August 8, 2016
And finally, some interesting anchor switching suggestions…
— Sebastian Gorka DrG (@SebGorka) August 5, 2016
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