In a lawsuit filed Monday in New York State Supreme Court, Andrea Tantaros claimed that she was punished by top executives at Fox News for complaining about the sexual harassment she endured at the hands of Roger Ailes.
As reported by the New York Times, this suit comes on the heels of Tantaros’s other legal entanglements with the beleaguered news organization. Earlier this year, Fox claimed that she had breached her contract by publishing a book while still under their employ without prior approval. Tantaros also alleges that she was taken off air as retaliation for lodging the complaints.
The lawsuit describes a pretty miserable work environment for women, saying that “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.”
Ailes is not the only one who acted inappropriately towards Tantaros, the suit alleges, and claims that Tantaros was subject to “unwanted advances” from Bill O’Reilly, someone she considered a friend.
The environment described at Fox News by the lawsuit is one inhospitable to women and ruled by a cabal of men intent on controlling the women they worked with through the precise tactics they are denying.
From the Times:
“Ailes did not act alone,” the lawsuit states. “He may have been the primary culprit, but his actions were condoned by his most senior lieutenants, who engaged in a concerted effort to silence Tantaros by threats, humiliation and retaliation.”
In addition, Tantaros’s suit alleges that “she was the subject of humiliating posts by pseudonymous accounts on Twitter known as ‘sock puppets’ that she says were instigated by the Fox News publicity department” as well as this appalling behavior from the same department, when Tantaros continued to evade Ailes’ advances.
Mr. Ailes talked about how she would look in a bikini, and accused her of ending a long-term relationship because she had been merely using the man. The episode brought her to tears, the lawsuit states. She said the sole interview arranged by the publicity department during that period was with a writer for a blog controlled by Fox, who asked about her breasts and if she was difficult to work with.
The suit also alleges that Tantaros met with Bill Shine, an executive close with Ailes to inquire about the publicity department’s behavior towards her and was essentially told to keep her mouth shut.
Naturally, Shine denies any knowledge of their conversation, saying through a spokeswoman that Tantaros “never approached” him about the situation.