NEW YORK – As recently as April it appeared that Andrea Tantaros, a Greek-American political analyst who achieved national recognition on the Fox News Channel, was about to soar to the next plateau of fame and professional accomplishment, with the release of her book Tied Up in Knots. But around that time, Tantaros disappeared rather mysteriously from the airwaves – she was one of five women who hosted the popular midday show Outnumbered, the title indicating that each show’s sole guest was male – leaving her fans wondering what happened to her.
Neither Fox nor Tantaros brought the matter to light publicly, until now.
On August 22, Tantaros filed a lawsuit against Fox News, alleging among other things that then-chairman Roger Ailes made unwanted sexual advances toward her and accusing other Fox employees of similar conduct, and made reference in her civil suit complaint, filed in New York State Supreme Court, the old Greek adage “the fish stinks from the head.” (Famously, Michael Dukakis in his 1988 presidential bid made the same reference regarding the Reagan Administration).
Fox News has not responded, in keeping with its policy of not commenting about pending litigation, the Associated Press reported.
A prevalent issue at hand is whether Fox removed her from Outnumbered because she published her book without approval – and, as Tantaros states in her claim, disapproved of the book’s cover, which features Tantaros with her arms stretched over her head and bound by ropes – or, as she alleges, that her book did not substantively give cause for Fox to exercise its external publishing restriction, and instead, this was retaliation for her sexual harassment charges.
Ailes resigned last month amid a lawsuit filed by another former female anchor, Gretchen Carlson, who alleges that she was fired because she refused Ailes’ sexual advances. Ailes has repeatedly denied all charges and cited his reasons for resignation as follows: “I will not allow my presence to become a distraction from the work that must be done every day to ensure that Fox News and Fox Business continue to lead our industry.”
In her complaint, Tantaros also includes that former U.S. Senator from Massachusetts and current Fox contributor, Scott Brown, made inappropriate remarks about her on the air, to the effect of she seems like she would be fun to go to a nightclub with, and once snuck up behind her while she was buying lunch and put his hands on her lower waist, and that top-rated commentator Bill O’Reilly told her she seems like she has a wild side.
Brown has vehemently denied the charges, saying he has never touched her around the waist, and that he treats everyone the same, male or female. His wife, Gail Huff, was even more forceful, calling the accusations lies, the Boston Herald reported, emphasizing that Brown, who had been molested as a child, is particularly sensitive to unwanted advances.
At press time, O’Reilly had not responded to Tantaros’ allegations. Neither Brown nor O’Reilly is named as a codefendant.
Tantaros also charges that Fox has created “sock puppet” blogs surreptitiously to discredit her. The lawsuit, citing five causes of action, is for tens of millions of dollars.