Andrea Tantaros is suing two of her former Fox News Channel colleagues for defamation in connection with a physical altercation that allegedly occurred on the set of The O’Reilly Factor, the show formerly anchored by Bill O’Reilly who was let go on Wednesday.
Fox News itself is not named as a defendant in the new lawsuit.
In August 21016, the popular former Outnumbered co-host sued Fox News, former CEO Roger Ailes, and four other FNC defendants, claiming that the TV channel retaliated against her in the workplace for complaining to high-level executives there about alleged sexual harassment by Ailes. In legal papers, Tantaros characterized the network as a “Playboy Mansion-like cult” and also leveled accusations of misbehavior at other Fox News personalities. Part of the retaliation allegedly came in the form of a demotion from the higher-rated The Five to Outnumbered.
Ailes and Fox have denied the allegations, and the channel insists that the suspension came because Tantaros failed to get pre-approval for a book manuscript and that Tantaros never lodged internal complaints about sexual harassment.
Tantaros has been off the air since late April 2016, which — setting aside the merits of the legal wrangling — can’t be good for any media pundit’s career or brand. It also undoubtedly hindered the promotion for the book in question, Tied Up in Knots.
Through her lawyer, Tantaros is appealing a ruling by a New York judge that sent the bitter dispute against Fox News to closed-door, private arbitration, as required by her employment contract, rather than open court.
In her new lawsuit, Tantaros claims she was libeled in the form of a tweet sent out by former Fox News contributor Nomiki Konst, a liberal/progressive activist who now works for the Young Turks, and that the whole thing was a setup.
Konst currently has 55,000 Twitter followers.
Remember that time Bill O'Reilly kicked me off a weekly spot on his show after Andrea Tantaros physically attacked me & threatened me? I do!
— Nomiki Konst (@NomikiKonst) April 19, 2017
In the seven-page complaint, Tantaros denies the Konst allegation and claims that Konst was doing the bidding of Fox News executive Irena Briganti, who is also named as a defendant, as a way for Konst to get back on the Fox News airwaves.
Even more convoluted from the outside, Tantaros claims in her legal complaint that the tweet was something along the lines of a preemptive strike because she is about to sue Peter Synder and Disruptor, Inc., for allegedly waging a “disgraceful” social media campaign against her on behalf of Fox News.
“On information and belief, Konst issued the Konst Tweet at the direction of Briganti, who was seeking to undermine Tantaros’s credibility before Tantaros sued Snyder,” the Tanators lawsuit alleges.
The tweet in question supposedly emerged about an hour and half after the attorney for Tantaros informed his counterpart who represents Snyder that she would be suing him.
As the saying goes, you can’t tell the players without a scorecard.
“Tantaros charged Konst and Briganti with libel per se, the legal term for falsely accusing someone in print of committing a crime,” the Courthouse News Service noted.
“Briganti denies having anything to do with Konst’s tweet,” LawNewz reported, adding that her statement indicates that she has never met Konst or spoken with her. Snyder’s lawyer similarly insisted that the the allegations are false and that he hasn’t worked for Fox News for about five years other than going before the cameras as a contributor.
— Jack Furnari (@JackBPR) April 21, 2017
Fox News kept Andrea Tantaros on the payroll until October 2016, when she appeared on Good Morning America to discuss the sexual harassment accusations, which violated a contractual confidentiality provision.
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