Fox host Andrea Tantaros is challenging Fox News’ claims that they didn’t know about the sexual harassment claims against Fox News Chief Roger Ailes.
Gabriel Sherman broke another Fox News sexual harassment story today in New York Magazine, “Fox News Host Andrea Tantaros Says She Was Taken Off the Air After Making Sexual-Harassment Claims Against Roger Ailes.”
“Ailes allegedly asked Tantaros to do ‘the twirl’ so he could see her figure. She refused,” Sherman wrote of one of the alleged incidents of sexual harassment.
Tantaros claimed that in 2015 she made complaints “multiple times” to senior Fox officials and was subsequently demoted, according to Sherman’s report. She alleges the harassment began on August 12, 2014. Tantaros was suspended with pay in April of 2016, after reporting it multiple times.
Fox claims she was suspended due to not letting Fox vet her book. They claimed to be embarrassed by the image on her book cover, “Tied Up in Knots: How Getting What They Wanted Has Made Women Miserable”, which came out in 2016 and shows her tied up. However they did air a segment promoting her book in February of 2016 (as shown in the featured image from that segment).
Tantaros’ lawyer, Judd Burstein, told Sherman that Tantoros is able to tell her story now because “she doesn’t have the same fear of being attacked by the Fox PR machine, and the Murdochs have made it clear they want to clean up the place.”
This fear makes more sense when you put it in context with Sherman’s earlier reporting on Ailes’ intimidation of enemies: “Ailes was also able to use portions of the Fox budget to hire consultants, political operatives, and private detectives who reported only to him, according to a senior Fox source. Last week, according to the source, Fox News dismissed five consultants whom Ailes had hired to do work that was more about advancing his own agenda than Fox’s. One of the consultants, Bert Solivan, ran negative PR campaigns against Ailes’s personal and political enemies out of Fox News headquarters, a source said.”
Tantaros’ story about the twirl request rings a lot of bells for me. These kinds of stories don’t sound like something someone would make up, because it doesn’t sound that sinister on its surface. Only if it happens to you and you are punished for not going along with it do you comprehend the full damage of these kinds of requests.
The only issue here is Andrea Tantaros’ claims don’t mesh with the book she wrote or the network she works for. At some point, we have to address this elephant in the room because it’s not cool to say that you deserve rights while arguing that others in your same category have too many rights.
According to the official breakdown on Amazon, Tantaros’ book is about how equality has gone too far, “Andrea Tantaros, one of Fox News’ most popular and outspoken stars, exposes how the rightful feminist pursuit of equality went too far, and how the unintended pitfalls of that power trade have made women (and men!) miserable.”
She advocated that female promotion over males was a problem for both sexes, “Meanwhile, in their rightful quest for equality, women have promoted themselves at the expense of their male counterparts, leaving both genders frayed and frustrated.”
Women haven’t gained respect at the office yet, as Tantaros’ allegations against Roger Ailes and Fox News prove. And I dare say the “feminist pursuit of equality” hasn’t gotten far enough, or we wouldn’t be writing these stories about Roger Ailes’ treatment of women throughout his career. Now would I be getting emails about women who say these stories are close to their heart.
It is at moments like this that I would love to ask women like Andrea Tantaros in what way during these alleged events did she feel she has too much power at work and in what way women being promoted would have made this worse.
But ultimately Tantaros’ beliefs and ideas don’t change the fact that sexual harassment is wrong and if Fox News ignored her complaints (my money is on yes they did) and she was punished for not complying with Ailes’ requests, they have even more to answer for than sexual harassment. It’s the cover up, as they say.
Ms. Jones is the editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.