Ex-Outnumbered and The Five co-host Andrea Tantaros isn’t done going after her former employer and its former and current bosses. Two months after a New York Supreme Court judge ruled that her $50 million sexual harassment case against Fox News Channel, its now-ousted ex-CEO Roger Ailes and current FNC President Bill Shine go to arbitration, she has filed a new complaint that alleges “extremely high-tech” hacking and a “professional/career assassination.”
““Fox News and its executives flatly deny that they conducted any electronic surveillance of Ms. Tantaros,” FNC’s outside Counsel Dechert LLP said in a statement about the new suit today.
In the suit filed today in U.S. District Court in New York (read it here), Tantaros alleges “bizarre and shocking” crimes that “have continued unabated since the departure of Roger Ailes from the network.” Her original suit filed in August claimed that “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.” The company responded by saying Tantaros “is not a victim, she is an opportunist” who was using a sexual-harassment lawsuit as a “smokescreen” to distract from her “violation of her employment contract.”
The new complaint, essentially a refiling of the original state case but now in federal court, focuses on alleged “criminal conduct” that she says used “very complex, and used cutting-edge technology” that “targeted Ms. Tantaros in such a twisted way.” It claims she was subjected “to illegal electronic surveillance and computer hacking” and that senior Fox News officials “used that information … to intimidate, terrorize, and crush her career through an endless stream of lewd, offensive, and career-damaging social media posts, blog entries and commentary, and high-profile ‘fake’ media sites which Fox News (or its social-influence contractors) owned or controlled. These accounts and sites were made to appear as held by independent persons or neutral media entities (“sockpuppet accounts”).”
The suit notes that the use of so-called “sockpuppet accounts” was depicted this season on Showtime’s drama series Homeland.
The statement from Fox News’ lawyers added that FNC abnd its execs “have no knowledge of the anonymous or pseudonymous tweets described in her complaint. This lawsuit is a flimsy pretext to keep Ms. Tantaros and her sexual harassment claims in the public eye after the State Supreme Court directed her to bring them in arbitration.”
As was the case with her previous suit, Tantaros again is represented by Judd Burstein at NYC’s Judd Burstein, P.C.