Former Fox News host Andrea Tantaros’ lawsuit against Fox News is full of jaw-dropping allegations of sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior from former Fox CEO Roger Ailes, host Bill O’Reilly, former Senator Scott Brown, Fox News correspondent John Roberts and actor Dean Cain. And there’s plenty more in it worth noting.
I’ve read the entire 37-page complaint (below) so you don’t have to. But I do recommend it as a fascinating glimpse into the world of Fox News.
Here’s what I found important for NewsHounds to know:
1. Fox’s on-air talent were instructed not to defend Megyn Kelly from Donald Trump’s attacks
Donald Trump spent almost a year making personal and often sexist attacks on Megyn Kelly. Yet, while Fox News made wimpy public motions of defending her, behind the scenes they also threw her under the bus. In Paragraph 15 of the complaint, Tantaros alleges that Roger Ailes’ deputy, Bill Shine, who has now been promoted to, essentially, replace Ailes (ousted over his sexual harassment), silenced people from defending her.
From the complaint’s paragraph 15:
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 sidesof the fence by instructing all on-air talent that none of them should defend Kelly against Trump.
2. Tantaros describes being harassed by Bill O’Reilly
Bill O’Reilly (“O’Reilly”), whom Tantaros had considered to be a good friend and a person from whom she sought career guidance, started sexually harassing her by, inter alia (a) asking her to come to stay with him on Long Island where it would be “very private,” and (b) telling her on more than one occasion that he could “see [her] as a wild girl,” and that he believed that she had a “wild side.”
Tantaros alleges that after she complained, she was prevented from appearing on his show. (Paragraph 54)
3. Roger Ailes was not just a sexual predator but he liked to gossip about his employees’ sex lives
We have heard about Ailes’ predatory behavior toward women, and Tantaros has plenty more about that, but her allegations provide a bigger picture of Ailes’ inappropriateness. From Paragraph 23:
On or about August 12, 2014, Ailes summoned Tantaros to his office and improperly asked Tantaros whether she hoped to get married and have kids one day. Ailes then started complaining about marriage in general, and also made off-color jokes about being married. In addition, during this meeting, Ailes subjected Tantaros to a host of inappropriate questions and comments about other people working at Fox News, including:
a.“Is Greg Gutfeld gay?”;
b.“Is Dana [Perino] a lesbian?”;
c.Perhaps Gutfeld and Perino are “sleeping together?”;
d.“Are Kimberly [Guilfoyle] and Eric [Bolling] sleeping together?”;
e.Guilfoyle is “easy”;
f. Shannon Bream’s “voice is annoying.”;
g.Referring to Monica Crowley: “If I ever had to go on a date with her, I’d jump out the window.”;
h.Referring to Gretchen Carlson: “She’s nuts.”;
i.Referring to Catherine Herridge: “She’s a stalker.”; and
j. Referring to Maria Bartiromo: “She got so fat.”
Then, in Paragraph 26:
e. Perino “is uptight. You get the feeling that she never lets her hair down, but if she did, she’d be a good time.”
f. Kimberly Guilfoyle is a “Puerto Rican whore” and a “Puerto Rican street fighter”;
g.“Harris [Faulkner] has to be careful. She has the tendency to look like the angry black woman.”
In Paragraph 33, Tantaros describes Ailes claiming that she had “dumped” a long-time lawyer boyfriend because he lost a case. “He didn’t get you what you wanted so you dumped him. Isn’t that what happened?” Ailes reportedly said.
4. Ailes referred to Stacey Dash, a Fox News contributor as “the black girl”
According to Paragraph 33, on February 27, 2015, Ailes referred to an on-air disagreement between Tantaros and Stacey Dash, by saying, “I heard you were mean to the black girl.” The complaint adds, "He then ratcheted up his harassment by telling Tantaros that her body “'looked good,' and that 'I bet you look good in a bikini.'”
5. Tantaros describes being harassed by former Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown
According to Tantaros, Brown “made a number of sexually inappropriate comments to Tantaros” with her on Outnumbered. “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.’” (Paragraph 44)
6. Tantaros describes being harassed by Fox correspondent John Roberts
"Roberts made highly inappropriate comments to Tantaros, including “Have you frozen your eggs?” The show’s producers, Jay Soroko and Rachel McEntee, agreed that Roberts had acted inappropriately on and off air, and that Soroko would so inform management. Nonetheless, just as was the case with Brown, Fox News continued to book Robert on the show." (Paragraph 45)
7. Tantaros describes being harassed by actor Dean Cain
"On January 14, 2016, actor Dean Cain (“Cain”) appeared on Outnumbered and proceeded to inappropriately hug Tantaros (but no other woman) on the set during the Outnumbered live webcast." (Paragraph 50)
8. Tantaros’ suit names current Fox News top executives as defendants
Although Fox executives Bill Shine and Dianne Brandi (Fox’s chief in-house lawyer), e.g., have been previously implicated as having covered up Roger Ailes’ sexual harassment, Tantaros’ suit names them as defendants. Also sued are Suzanne Scott, head of programming, and Irena Briganti, Senior Vice President in charge of Fox News’s media relations, for improperly responding to complaints of harassment and even retaliating against Tantaros.
9. Our nemeses, Johnny Dollar and The Cable Game, among others, are identified as Fox News sock puppets who retaliate on behalf of Briganti
Long-time NewsHounds readers know that “Johnny Dollar” has long trolled and deliberately smeared us. We've long suspected he's a Fox News operative. Tantaros' complaint identifies him as such, though she doesn't name him.
In Paragraph 50, Tantaros' complaint says, “On information and belief, Briganti arranged for a picture of the hug to be tweeted from one of Fox News’s 'sock puppet' Twitter accounts with the caption: 'Things Heating Up Between Andrea Tantaros and Dean Cain.' This was plainly designed to further sexualize Tantaros’s image."
That Twitter account belonged to Johnny Dollar (tweet embedded below).
I don’t like to give him any publicity but I will say he has not given up his efforts against us. Maybe now that he has been outed, he will.
Also named in the complaint is the NewsHounds-obsessed The Cable Game. That site has long been known as an Ailes creation. By coincidence, its most recent post is dated July 10, 2016. That’s shortly after Gretchen Carlson filed her bombshell sexual harassment lawsuit that started Ailes’ downward spiral and shortly before it was reported that it was only a matter of time before Ailes would be fired.
10. One of the identified sock puppets is a blatant racist
In Paragraph 6b (iv), Tantaros accuses Fox of refusing to allow her to make media appearances except for one “humiliating” 2015 interview with “Headline and Global News, a website reportedly controlled by Ailes.” Media Matters notes that the interview reported on her “curve hugging” outfit, how she was “easy on the eyes” and how the interviewer wanted to be one of the “lucky guys” who appear on her show.
But here’s another thing about the author, who has the odd name of Michael Bullerdick, as reported by The Huffington Post, in 2012:
Michael Bullerdick has resigned from his post as Managing Editor at Essence magazine and has “accepted a position in another division,” reports MediaBistro.com.
The abrupt resignation comes in the wake of Bullerdick’s right-wing and racist Facebook comments being exposed to the publication.
According to NewsOne.com, on one page Bullerdick, who is a whiite man, calls civil rights leader Al Sharpton as a “Race Pimp”; goes after President Barack Obama as a radical; touts videos by the late Andrew Breitbart, who was responsible for getting former USDA official Shirley Sherrod fired; and attacks Attorney General Eric Holder.
Just like when it hired Mark Fuhrman, Fox News had no problem doing business with a known racist. In fact, calling Sharpton a “race pimp,” touting Breitbart videos and attacks on Attorney General Holder are staples of Fox News messaging.
You can read Tantaros’ complaint in full, below.
Graphic of Tantaros via screen grab.
Secondly, on the Dean Cain point. Unless Dean Cain joined FoxNoise and no one bothered to give details about his contract, Tantaros might want to just gloss over that whole bit (or, better, remove it completely from her suit). Reading the paragraph from the suit itself, it seems that the reference was not intended to attack Cain (rather, as an example of one of the “sock puppet” Twitter accounts) but that’s NOT how it seems on first glance. I don’t know how much input Tantaros had in presenting the language in the suit, but I would have used the phrase “as an example of the ‘sock puppet’ attacks” before the mention of Cain.
Cain (IANAL but IMHO) has a case of his own for defamation of character against Tantaros because of the implication that he sexually assaulted her (since her language reads “proceeded to inappropriately hug,” that’s not hard to presume some level of sexual assault).
How they continue to employ Shine is beyond me.
Everyone at this hideous skyscraper are shaking in their shoes. They are wondering, who is next?
We have news for these clowns. There are more gems coming down the pipeline:
4. New hosts and anchors hired at Fox “News.”
5. On air mouthpieces ask to be release from contracts.
6. Murdochs’ big decision.
NOTE TO MURDOCHS/21ST CENTURY FOX
Get rid of Shine and the rest of the hooligans by Friday. Pay off the remainder of their contract, and oust them. If not, colleges and universities, and advertisers will be contacted, and informed of the sexual misconducts inside this hideous network. We will publicly tell them not to do business with this network that sexually harass women in the workplace.
I’d like to think this scandal would be the death knell of the Fox News fever swamp. But if conservatives can hold their nose and vote for Trump or keep glued to Dominican Republic sex tourist Rush Limbaugh’s radio show I’m sure they’ll have no problem staying in the GOPTV™ bubble.