Ailes, Fox News Channel Hit With Another Sexual Harassment Suit

Fox News Channel and former chairman Roger Ailes have been hit with another sexual harassment suit.

Anchor Andrea Tantaros filed a complaint in New York State Supreme Court and named Fox News Channel and several of its executives, including Ailes, recently named co-president Bill Shine, programming head Suzanne Scott, counsel  Dianne Brandi and public relations chief Irena Briganti.

Ailes resigned last month following a similar sexual harassment lawsuit filed by former Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson and an investigation by parent company 21st Century Fox that turned up complaints by other female Fox News staffers. Fox News said it does not comment on pending litigation.

Tantaros said in the suit, “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.”

Tantaros also charged that Ailes did not act alone. “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,” her suit said.

She added that 21st Century Fox’s top execs, Rupert, James and Lachlan Murdoch, “have been misleading the public into believing that they are taking action. In fact, they have done the opposite.”

In the suit, Ailes is accused of making inappropriate comments like “turn around so I can get a good look on you” -- a request so common at Fox News it was referred to as “The Twirl” -- and “I bet you look good in a bikini.”

“Perhaps the most shocking encounter of all,” the suit said, “was a Spring 2015 meeting between Tantaros and Fox News senior xxecutive, defendant William Shine, during which Tantaros sought relief from Ailes’s sexual harassment. In response, Shine told Tantaros that Ailes was a ‘very powerful man’ and that Tantaros ‘needed to let this one go.’ Yet, after Ailes was revealed to be a sexual predator and forced to resign, Shine was promoted to co-president of Fox News. Shine’s inexplicable elevation sends the message that it will be ‘business as usual’ at Fox News when it comes to the treatment of women.”


Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.