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miércoles, 31 de enero de 2018

Former Fox News Host Andrea Tantaros claims Fox News talent were secretly recorded disrobing

The reputation of Fox News’s workplace culture continues to take a beating with new allegations. In the era of #MeToo and media personalities falling from grace, it appears that many newsrooms across the United States are toxic work environments.

Former Fox News anchor Andrea Tantaros amended a complaint in her second lawsuit that has become public. If the allegations in the complaint are true, the network may have to answer for the actions of sexual deviants on staff. Tantaros alleges that the network secretly recorded women disrobing, and that its late chief Roger Ailes had a CCTV system that allowed him to see inside their offices.

Tantaros’s first lawsuit was tossed out by a judge, but will her second lawsuit be successful?

Andrea Tantaros Claims Fox Staffers Spied on Her

On Tuesday, The Hollywood Reporter posted Tantaros’s amended complaint in her second lawsuit. The amendment was filed on Monday.

During the network’s “bi-annual trunk show,” anchors were “down to their undergarments” to try on dresses they would wear on-air. She alleges that the CCTV system maintained by Ailes caught the women undressing prior to the event and throughout daily clothing changes.

Here is what the amended complaint states:

The trunk show was held in empty Fox offices and female talent was expected to disrobe down to their undergarments to try on new on-air dresses for the next season, without even the benefit of a curtain. The dresses were pre-selected for the women by the wardrobe department before their arrival; pants were not an option. Upon information and belief, Ailes was recording female employees disrobe without their consent in their offices and during the bi-annual trunk show.

That isn’t all.

The former co-host of The Five claims that spyware was installed on her personal laptop and work Blackberry. Tantaros says that Fox IT personnel tried to wipe her mobile device, too.

Citing a forensic analysis, the complaint states:

Fox was using an outdated operating version of [employees’ work BlackBerrys] that enabled them to turn on the microphone and camera of the device at will without the knowledge or consent of the person who had the Blackberry in his or her possession.

This occurred shortly after Ailes “flagrantly and publicly sexually harassed Tantaros when he looked at her up and down and smirked, ‘We need to get you a tighter dress.'”

Tantaros believes that she is still a target of so-called Black Room operations from the network, including physical surveillance. A New York Magazine article in 2016 reported that Ailes established an operation in 2011 “to conduct PR and surveillance campaigns against people he targeted, both inside and outside the company.”

Fox News dismissed her claims, calling them “outlandish” and lacking “any factual basis.”

The company said in a statement:

Fox News moved for sanctions against the lawyer who filed Andrea Tantaros’ original lawsuit and he has since withdrawn. None of the four lawyers currently representing Tantaros in the action signed her new complaint, which she purports to have written herself. Her outlandish claims lack any factual basis.

The Legal Struggles of Andrea Tantaros

This isn’t Tantaros’s first legal dispute with Fox News.

Tantaros filed her original lawsuit against five senior executives at the network in a New York state court in August 2016. It contained a 37-page document that portrayed the culture at Fox very negatively, which also involved a former U.S. senator and host Bill O’Reilly.

The following are just two of the many claims in the lawsuit:

[Former Senator Scott Brown (R-MA)] made a number of sexually inappropriate comments to Tantaros on set, including, and in a suggestive manner, that Tantaros ‘would be fun to go to a nightclub with.’ After the show was over, Brown snuck up behind Tantaros while she was purchasing lunch and put his hands on her lower waist. She immediately pulled back, telling Brown to ‘stop.’

[O’Reilly] whom Tantaros had considered to be a good friend and a person from whom she sought career guidance, started sexually harassing her by … asking her to come to stay with him on Long Island where it would be ‘very private,’ and … telling her on more than one occasion that he could ‘see [her] as a wild girl,’ and that he believed that she had a ‘wild side.’

Fox attempted to settle with Tantaros in September 2016, offering “seven figures,” but Tantaros turned down the money.

The court eventually ruled in favor of the network. The judge concluded that the arbitration clause of her employment contract covered her complaint that Fox News “operated like a sex-fueled, Playboy Mansion-like cult.”

She decided to submit a second lawsuit in April 2017, telling the court that she was the victim of hacking and social media stalking.

It was revealed in August 2017 that she was the target of a separate lawsuit. Michael Malice, a regular Fox News commentator, sued Tantaros in October 2016, alleging that she did not pay him for his work ghostwriting her book, “Tied Up in Knots.”

He claims that Tantaros agreed to pay him $150,000 to pen the book, and the two parties signed a confidentiality agreement. Malice argues that Tantaros may have been frightened that Harper Collins, her publisher, could terminate the book if the company discovered that she was not writing it herself.

Is Tarantos’ suit likely to hold up in court? It’s worth noting that Tarantos’ claims have been called into question before, and her own attorneys refused to sign on to her most recent complaint, which she seems to have authored herself.

It remains to be seen whether the court finds it persuasive.


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