Former Fox News host Andrea Tantaros filed a suit yesterday against Fox News and Roger Ailes, along with numerous other defendants, accusing the conservative network of operating “like a sex-fueled, Playboy Mansion-like cult, steeped in intimidation, indecency, and misogyny.” The suit delves into the culture at the conservative news channel and the way it treats its employees, particularly women.
Here are five allegations raised from Tantaros’ court filings:
1. The network’s executives ordered on-air talent not to defend anchor Megyn Kelly after she was attacked by Donald Trump:
Further, after Donald Trump attacked Megyn Kelly for allegedly treating him unfairly in an August 2015 Republican Presidential Debate, Fox News publicly backed Kelly in the dispute. However, Shine executed Ailes’s tactic of playing both sides of the fence by instructing all on-air talent that none of them should defend Kelly against Trump.
2. Fox News has a yearly “trunk show” during which female employees are forced to dress and undress in front of other staff:
In addition, each year Fox News conducts a “trunk show” at which female on-air personalities pick out their wardrobe. Fox News’s “trunk show” requires its female employees, including Tantaros, to dress and undress in front of Fox News’s wardrobe personnel in the middle of a room without even the benefit of a curtain to act as a dressing room.
3. Ailes, the network’s former chairman and CEO, was apparently obsessed with the sexual orientation of his employees, repeatedly and in separate meetings asking Tantaros:
“Is Greg Gutfeld gay?”;
“Is Dana [Perino] a lesbian?”
4. Tantaros accuses former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown (also a former Fox News contributor) of sexual harassment:
On or about August 18, 2015, former Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown (“Brown”) appeared on Outnumbered. Brown made a number of sexually inappropriate comments to Tantaros on set, including, and in a suggestive manner, that Tantaros “would be fun to go to a nightclub with.” After the show was over, Brown snuck up behind Tantaros while she was purchasing lunch and put his hands on her lower waist. She immediately pulled back, telling Brown to “stop.” Tantaros then immediately met with Shine to complain, asking him to ensure that Brown would never be booked on the show again. Shine said that he would talk to Scott. Thereafter, Shine and Scott ignored Tantaros’s complaint, and continued to book Brown on Outnumbered.
5. Fox News, according to the suit, operates a number of sock puppet accounts it uses to attack its own talent:
At or around this same time, there was a large increase in negative social media posts about Tantaros. On information and belief, Fox News was the source of these negative comments, by posting them on its numerous “sock puppet” accounts. A “sock puppet” is a fake identity created to promote or tarnish someone through blogs and social networking sites which appear to be independent. It has been widely reported that Fox News maintains a large number of “sock puppet” accounts. On information and belief, media relations was also shopping negative stories about Tantaros, and leaking baseless and harmful information about Tantaros to discredit her and cause reputational harm.