Last week, former Fox News host Andrea Tantaros filed a lawsuit claiming she was shunted off the air for complaining about relentless sexual harassment from Roger Ailes and others. In a response filed Monday, the network calls Tantaros a lying “opportunist” who merely wishes she was sexually harassed.
In their response, Fox says that Tantaros was suspended for writing “an unauthorized book,” April’s Tied Up in Knots: How Getting What We Wanted Made Women Miserable, a disquisition on how feminism is bad, which features a cover photo of Tantaros lightly bound with white rope. The book breached Tantaros’ contract, Fox alleges, particularly the cover, featuring her in a “submissive and sexualized position.”
The irony there is particularly rich, coming from the network where Roger Ailes was allegedly obsessed with female anchors showing as much leg as possible. But Fox also specifically alleges that Tantaros only began making sexual harassment claims after Gretchen Carlson sued Roger Ailes. From their response:
Tantaros’s unverified complaint of August 22 to this court bears all the hallmarks of the “wannabe:” she claims now that she too was victimized by Roger Ailes when in fact, contrary to her pleading, she never complained of any such conduct in the course of an investigation months ago.
In other words, the response seems to indicate that Roger Ailes did indeed sexually harass some people, just not Andrea. The response also accuses Tantaros of making abuse claims against “an ever-shifting collection” of Fox employees. And it demands that Tantaros enter arbitration with Fox News, saying that she’s only pursuing a lawsuit because it allows for “public vilification” of her targets.
And yet there’s one other detail in the new suit, as noted by Judd Legum at Think Progress.
Earlier today, Tantaros challenged Fox News executives to take a lie detector test; among other things, the proposed questions imply that Tantaros complained to new CEO Bill Shine about sexual harassment and that Ailes asked Tantaros to “turn around” for him; they also allege Ailes tried to have her email hacked.
“An innocent person would jump at the chance for this kind of vindication,” lawyers for Tantaros wrote in a press release accompanying the questions. “And if Ms. Tantaros were not telling the truth she would not risk offering this proposal.”