Andrea Tantaros: Fox News Booted Me Off Air For Accusing Ailes Of Sexual Harassment
This past spring, Fox News’ Andrea Tantaros was mysteriously removed from the air. At the time a regular co-host of Outnumbered, an early-afternoon panel show consisting of five women and one rotating dude, her absence was eventually explained as a suspension over her recent book. According to Fox higher-ups, Tantaros violated company policy by promoting the book without having it vetted by Fox’s lawyers. They also now claim they were embarrassed by the cover, featuring her tied up in bondage ropes.
However, it seemed odd at the time that she was taken off the air for that. One, all of the Fox folks write shitty books. It is kinda their thing. Second, it is hard to get on one of your female hosts’ case about sexually objectifying herself when your entire programming is centered on that very thing. Finally, Tantaros was one of the loudest Donald Trump boosters they had. With the network pushing all-in on the Trumpster, taking off one of his biggest champions seemed counter-productive.
Well, it seems that Fox’s story was nothing but a front. Per an article published Monday by New York Magazine, Tantaros’ lawyer Judd Burstein told Gabriel Sherman that Tantaros, much like Gretchen Carlson, was demoted for rebuffing ex-Fox chief Roger Ailes’s advances, and then subsequently pull off the air for filing sexual harassment claims against her boss.
Tantaros states that the harassment from Ailes took place over a period of two years, starting in earnest on August 12th, 2014. At that time, Ailes asked the Fox News host to twirl around to show off her figure. She told him no. She also rejected him that December after he once again wanted to check her out and then told her to give him a hug.
Two months later, she was demoted from her gig on The Five to the lower-rated Outnumbered. Per the article:
In February 2015, Tantaros was pulled off the 5 p.m. program The Five and demoted to working full-time on the midday show Outnumbered. In February 2015, according to Burstein, Ailes allegedly harassed Tantaros again in his office, asking about her workout routine because her body “looked good” and mentioning that she must “really look good in a bikini.”
On April 30, 2015, Tantaros filed a formal workplace harassment complaint about Ailes to Shine, Burstein says. The following day, Burstein says, Tantaros met with Shine to further discuss her harassment claims. Shine allegedly told her, “Roger is a very powerful man,” and that she “should not fight this.”
In August, her agent spoke with Brandi about the episode; according to the agent, Brandi said she would look into the matter but did not follow up.
After making more complaints to Shine and Scott over the course of the next year, Tantaros was suspended from the network in April 2016. “All of a sudden, the book became this big issue,” Burstein says.
She apparently hired Burstein a few weeks before her suspension as she felt something was coming down the pike. This is the same thing Carlson did ahead of her firing, feeling that Ailes would retaliate against her for rejecting his advances and complaining about the workplace behavior.
Tantaros, who is still under contract to Fox, says she is coming forward now because she’s not afraid of repercussions from Ailes or his PR machine, now that he is out. In her mind, the Murdoch family wants to clean up the reputation of the network.
Based on the reporting of Sherman and others, as well as what we know of the investigation by the law firm the Murdochs retained to look into the matter, dozens of women have accused Ailes of sexually harassing them over the past 40 or so years. The 76-year-old GOP kingmaker is reportedly walking away from Fox News with a $40 million golden parachute.