Andrea Tantaros, the former Fox News anchor, paid a big price for her recent interview on ABC’s Good Morning America.
Fox News, her erstwhile employer, took her off the payroll immediately afterwards.
Although suspended in late April, the popular co-host of Outnumbered, was still collecting a salary from Fox on her contract that runs through August 2017 and paid her about $850,000 annually. “The ABC appearance was costly: Fox News immediately stopped sending paychecks, leaving Tantaros with negligible income and mounting legal fees,” The Daily Beast reported on Monday as part of an interview with her.
“Fox News had warned her in advance that this appearance would be a material breach of [her contract’s] confidentiality and exclusivity provisions, and instructed her not to do so,” The Daily Beast added.
In the interview, the former Donald Trump fan also revealed that she is voting Libertarian rather than Republican on Election Day.
In August, Tantaros 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.
“Fox News initially suspended her with pay, claiming she violated her contract by publishing a book without approval. She denies any wrongdoing, insists she received the required approval, and says the real reason she was taken off the air was her repeated complaints about Ailes’s inappropriate behavior,” The Daily Beast summarized.
In the website interview, Tantaros also seemed to accuse Ailes of making advances on women when they were in the midst of personal issues and were, in her words, “wounded birds.”
The retaliation allegedly came in form of demoting Tantaros from the higher-rated The Five to Outnumbered (and preventing her from appearing on any other FNC show) as well as torpedoing her book launch. Many viewers have previously expressed themselves on social media that they have lost interest in Outnumbered after Tantaros’ disappearance.
As noted above, Fox has denied that she ever complained about sexual harassment and insists Tantaros was actually suspended on or about April 25 for failing to get network approval for her then newly-published book Tied Up in Knots: How Getting What We Wanted Made Women Miserable. Like other media companies, Fox contracts likely contain a stipulation requiring such vetting by the legal department. Since the tome was published by a Fox sister company, it seems odd from the outside that an internal disconnect would have occurred, however, although it is perhaps possible in a big organization.
The suspension obviously undermined ability to promote the book on Fox platforms and severely impaired her brand as a political analyst especially during the hotly contested election season.
In its response to the lawsuit, Fox also claimed that she was an “opportunist” and a “wannabe” sexual harassment victim.
Fox and Tantaros are now sparring in court as to whether her contract requires the dispute to be sorted out in private arbitration or in open court in a jury trial as Tantaros wants. A procedural ruling is expected possibly this month.
In the GMA interview, Tantaros claimed that she had been lodging complaints internal complaints about sexual harassment long before the explosive Gretchen Carlson lawsuit that led to the ouster of Ailes and that the alleged book contract violation is just a pretext (the legal term) or a smokescreen for the suspension.
She described to GMA interviewer Amy Robach one incident of Ailes’ alleged misconduct.
“Ailes sexually harassed me numerous times. I’ll give you an example. I was walking to a taping once and just said simply hello to him, and he looked at me and said, ‘We need to get you a tighter dress’…this was after numerous times of him insulting me, making degrading comments about personal relationships, about my figure, that’s what he did, and the retaliation was even worse.”
When asked why she praised the ex-CEO in her book’s acknowledgment section, Tantaros claimed that “you had to thank Roger Ailes or your book didn’t get published. And if you notice, it’s the most carefully crafted non-thank you. I wrestled for hours with that thank you.”
She also confirmed turning down a seven-figure settlement offer from Fox News because it would have required a confidentiality clause as well an admission that she failed to get proper approval for the book, which she insists is a lie. Dropping her case in favor of an out-of-court settlement would mean that Fox News would avoid any accountability for alleged studio misconduct. Accountability means that ” a culture change at Fox News is in order. It’s a culture of misogyny and sexism, and if you get vocal about it…they will act punitively,” she said.
On Tuesday, as alluded to above, Tantaros is voting for Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson, because she has great respect for Johnson running mate William Weld, a former employer, and she became disillusioned with Trump for seeking campaign advice (although this is unconfirmed) from Ailes.
Ironically perhaps, Weld has heaped praise on Democrat presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, who Tantaros vehemently opposes, and Ailes and Trump were at loggerheads during the Republican presidential nominee’s feud with Megyn Kelly.
“There were plenty of other really talented political operatives he could have gotten advice from. As a woman, I’m really disappointed to see him bringing Ailes into his circle,” she said about Trump.
Andrea Tantaros also claims that she has proof that she complained about sexual harassment in real time in the form of a sworn affidavit from her former psychotherapist.
Tantaros has a provocative new book in the works “titled Tales from the Leg Chair—a reference to Fox News’s penchant for featuring female anchors in short dresses to display camera-ready gams.”
If you are a Fox News viewer, do you miss Andrea Tantaros as a regular political commentator on the network?
[Featured Image by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images]