The sexual harassment allegations against former Fox News CEO Roger Ailes—the number of which seems to grow every day—have raised serious questions about whether Fox officials were aware of Ailes’ behavior toward female employees. The network has denied any knowledge among higher-ups. But according to Gabriel Sherman of New York magazine, at least three executives knew that Fox News host Andrea Tantaros had complained about Ailes’ sexually-charged comments toward her:
Through her lawyer, Judd Burstein, Tantaros says that both she and her agent told Fox executive vice-president Bill Shine, senior vice-president Suzanne Scott, and general counsel Dianne Brandi about episodes of Ailes’s alleged harassment. “She made multiple harassment and hostile-workplace complaints,” Burstein says. As far as Tantaros knows, Fox executives never investigated her complaints, Burstein says; instead, they claim, Fox sidelined her. “I believe it’s retaliatory,” says Burstein.
Tantaros claims that Ailes told her, among other things, that she would “really look good in a bikini” and asked her to show off her body in his private office. She also believes that her mysterious disappearance from Fox News programming earlier this year was directly related to her complaints against Ailes.
At the time, Fox maintained that Tantaros was removed from her slot on the daytime show Outnumbered over unspecified “issues” regarding her contract with the network, and has since clarified that those issues pertained to her recent book, Tied Up in Knots: How Getting What They Wanted Has Made Women Miserable, which Tantaros allegedly published without allowing Fox to vet its contents. (Weirdly enough, Fox continues to employ Tantaros, albeit without allowing her to appear on-air.)
If Tantaros’s allegations are true, the scope of the ongoing internal inquiry into the complaints against Ailes is likely to change dramatically—from a probe of one powerful man’s behavior toward women, to a much wider investigation into a company whose most powerful executives allegedly tolerated the exploitation of women.
CORRECTION, 10 p.m.
This original version of this post featured a photo of a woman who was not Andrea Tantaros. Our error stemmed from what appears to be an incorrectly captioned photo in the Getty Images database. Gawker apologizes for the error. Thank you to Donna, Andrew, and Astero for pointing this out.