Tantaros’s complaint is a catch-all description of the host’s alleged troubles at Fox News, ranging from objectification by Ailes to a banishment aided by the Fox News PR department to contractual shenanigans. “Fox News masquerades as 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,” alleges the complaint. Fox News has declined to comment on the complaint, citing the widely invoked ongoing-litigation-no-comment clause.
Amid all the jaw-dropping claims is a false claim, that the blog TVNewser was “created and controlled” by Ailes. It was in fact launched by Brian Stelter of CNN, back when he was a college student at Towson University. And it says that a Fox News executive informed Tantaros that she wouldn’t be appearing on “The O’Reilly Factor” after she fielded come-ons from the the cable news star. As we wrote Tuesday, a look at Nexis transcripts indicates that Tantaros appeared on O’Reilly’s program almost until the time she disappeared from Fox News airwaves. Burstein tells this blog that the network changed its mind about her appearances on “The Factor.”
Burstein further tells the Erik Wemple Blog, “The Murdochs have professed a desire to clean things up at Fox News, but they appear to be interested only in applying cosmetics to cover up dirt.” Though Ailes was ousted, one of his top lieutenants, Bill Shine, has since been promoted, and other executives, including top lawyer Dianne Brandi and top PR exec Irena Briganti, carry on with their duties — “the equivalent of forcing Nixon’s resignation and then leaving Haldeman and Ehrlichman in charge,” writes Burstein in an email. “Moreover, the internal investigation ordered by the Murdochs is a joke, as evidenced by the fact that no investigator has asked to speak to Ms. Tantaros even though Dianne Brandi acknowledged in writing last April that Ms. Tantaros had made claims of sexual harassment and retaliation. Indeed, today, two days after Ms. Tantaros filed suit, the investigators still haven’t called.”
With each passing day, the Fox News sexual harassment crisis bears more resemblance to phone-hacking scandal at Rupert Murdoch’s shuttered News of the World, at least in their shared potential to devolve into legal morasses.