The attorney for former Fox News Channel personality Andrea Tantaros said Wednesday the host had turned down a settlement offer in the “seven figures” and would continue to press her case alleging harassment by senior executives at the 21st Century Fox-owned cable-news outlet.
The legal development threatens to fan the flames of a controversy that the network and its parent hope to extinguish: Roger Ailes, the leader of the network and architect of its popular and influential programming, was ousted in July in the wake of a lawsuit filed by former Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson alleging sexual harassment by the executive. He has denied the charges, but multiple female Ailes employees both current and former stepped forward alleging similar charges of unwelcome and sexually charged behavior by Ailes.
“As has been widely reported, Fox News previously offered Ms. Tantaros seven figures to renounce her harassment claims against Ailes (and others) in exchange for her eternal silence,” said Judd Burstein, a lawyer representing Tantaros in the matter, in a statement. ” She summarily refused their offer, and believes that any settlement must provide for the cleaning up of Fox News, a task that has regrettably fallen squarely on her shoulders.”
“We stand by our earlier motion to compel arbitration,” Fox News said in a statement.
Tantaros in August filed a lawsuit in the Supreme Court of the State of New York alleging senior executives at the network retaliated against her after she complained about being inappropriate remarks made to her by Ailes, the former chairman and chief executive of the network. In the document, the former co-host of Fox News shows like “The Five” and “Outnumbered”alleged Ailes made demeaning remarks to her, such as “I bet you look good in a bikini,” and also asked inappropriate questions about her romantic life as well as the lives of other Fox News staffers. When Tarantos and her representatives complained to senior Fox News executives, the suit alleges, the anchor was first moved to the daytime program “Outnumbered’ from “The Five,” and was told to cease her complaints because it was likely she would not prevail. The suit seeks as much as $23 million, as well as $26 million in punitive damages and reimbursement of attorney fees.
The attorney released a deposition from Dr. Michele Burdy, a clinical psychologist who once treated Tantaros, and who related a number of instances from her sessions with the news personality in which she detailed some of the allegations she made in her suit.
21st Century Fox reached a settlement said to be valued at around $20 million with Carlson earlier this month.
|Women in the Media Who Have Accused Roger Ailes of Sexual Harassment|