Fox News has fired back against a lawsuit by former employee Andrea Tantaros against it and several of its employees, asking a U.S. District Court in New York to dismiss the complaint and sanction Tantaros' lawyer.
That came in a memorandum of law filed in support of Fox News' motion for sanctions against attorney Judd Burstein, who is representing Tantaros, who claimed sexual harassment by late Fox News chief Roger Ailes and a campaign of digital harassment and surveillance.
In the memo, Fox News said the complaint read like the plot of a TV drama, with claims of hacking, phone tapping, and coded messages via a "sock puppet" social media account.
It called that a work of fiction and the allegations of that systematic harassment, surveillance and criminal conduct "outrageously and flagrantly false."
Fox News says the allegation of criminal conduct was simply a ploy to grab headlines and inflict "maximum damage" on the company.
He said Tantaros' lawyer either did not sufficiently vet his client's claims or knew they were a hoax.
The motion was filed on behalf of Fox News, William Shine (who has left the company), and executive Irena Briganti and seeks sanctions on both Burstein and Tantaros.
Fox News also says Tantaros' original complaint was improperly filed with the court, rather than the arbitration forum required by Tantaros' contract.
Specifically, Fox News wants the court to 1) make Burstein and Tantaros pay the court costs of litigation fees and expenses; 2) dismiss the complaint with prejudice (meaning it can't be repaired and re-filed); 3) require Tantaros to bring any future claims related to her employment to arbitration; and 4) refer the attorney's conduct to "disciplinary authorities."
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Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.