The hits just keep coming to Fox News, a network that has seen its ratings rise to unprecedented levels in a year rife with controversial claims. The most damning and disturbing (initial) allegations came as Gretchen Carlson responded to her firing with sexual harassment lawsuit against then-president Roger Ailes, and more women came forward with similar stories. The latest is former The Five co-host Andrea Tantaros, who is suing not just Ailes, but also the network and several others high-ranking execs.
According to the lawsuit filed Monday, Andrea Tantaros' problems went beyond just the sexual harassment and included serious repercussions for making official complaints. Tantaros joined Fox News back in 2010 as a right-leaning commentator, and she claims those early days were filled with comments about her looks and demands about her clothing. But it was when she got promoted to The Five that it got worse, and she claims Roger Ailes kept trying to get her to not wear long pants on the air so that her legs could be seen.
The lawsuit also alleges Tantaros was called into Ailes' office at one point and was told to turn in a circle so he could watch her, and it was soon after she refused that she claims she was demoted to the lower-rated series Outnumbered. According to the New York Times, things persisted in that manner for months, and Tantaros claims she also received advances and other unwarranted behavior from Ailes' future replacement and senior newsman Bill Shine, as well as popular host Bill O'Reilly and others. As well, she claims that puppeted Twitter accounts were created by Fox publicity employees solely to harass her online.
Before we get to how her complaints were handled, check out this particularly piercing accusation of the network and company.
Fox News masquerades as a defender of traditional family values, but behind the scenes, it operates like a sex-fueled, Playboy Mansion-like cult, steeped in intimidation, indecency and misogyny.
Things take a darker turn as the lawsuit claims Andrea Tantaros met with Bill Shine to bring up her discomfort when meeting with Roger Ailes, as well as her problems with publicity head Irena Briganti. Shine allegedly told Tantaros to "let this one go," though Shine's reps have said that never happened. Most other reps and spokespeople for Fox have kept mum, but during the arbitration, Tantaros' lawyer even claimed Fox News offered his client a payment in the tune of seven figures if she dropped her claims against the network, Roger Ailes, and everyone else.
The battle between Tantaros and Fox News has actually been going on for months. The network claimed she breached her company contract by writing a book without the appropriate approval, which landed her with a suspension that has kept her off the air ever since. Back in April, Fox News lawyers alleged Tantaros was trying to gain ground in the contract dispute by making up the harassment claims, while Tantaros' lawyer threw it back that the contract dispute was another way of trying to silence the conservative contributor's charges.
It's likely this situation is far from over, and we can only hope that justice prevails and the judgment that's passed is the correct one.