Andrea Tantaros has become the first on air Fox News employee to publicly claim she was sexually harassed by former CEO Roger Ailes.
But a source close to the legal proceedings tells TVNewser that, while Tantaros had complained of menacing behavior by others inside Fox, there is no record of any sexual harassment by Ailes.
First, Tantaros’s side: according to her attorney Judd Burstein, in a story today in New York Magazine, Ailes began harassing Tantaros 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.
A few months later, in February 2015, Tantaros was moved off The Five where she was one of the original hosts. More recently, she was a panelist on Outnumbered.
In March, 2016, about a month before Tantaros was taken off the air for breach of contract, our source says she filed an official complaint that named several men and women, but not Ailes, of harassment. Fox News launched an internal investigation, headed up by legal chief Dianne Brandi. Fifteen people, men and women, were interviewed, as was Tantaros. A follow-up interview was requested, but Tantaros’s lawyer at the time, L.A.-based attorney Joseph Cane, did not make Tantaros available, our source says.
The breach of contract which led to her being benched from Outnumbered was due to the fact that Tantaros wrote a book called Tied Up in Knots. As a fulltime employee, her contract stipulated that Fox needed to approve the outline, the title, and her writing schedule for any book. Fox says none of that happened. The book came out April 26. Her last day on air was April 25.
Even before today’s news, Fox had already started arbitration for Tantaros’s contract. As of today she is still being paid by Fox News, and could be for another year. Her contract expires Aug. 2, 2017.
Gretchen Carlson filed her sexual harassment suit against Roger Ailes two weeks after her contract expired; Megyn Kelly is reported to have told outside investigators that she too was subjected to sexual harassment by Ailes, but Kelly herself has not gone public with any allegations. Ailes has denied harassing any of his accusers.