Ex-Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown is among those named in a sexual harassment lawsuit filed against Fox News by a former on-air personality, who described the workplace environment there as “a sex-fueled, Playboy Mansion-like cult, steeped in intimidation, indecency and misogyny.”
Former “The Five” co-host Andrea Tantaros also identifies others, including host Bill O’Reilly, network correspondent John Roberts, guest Ben Collins and actor Dean Cain, as men who sexually harassed her, though none of these men are specifically named as defendants in the suit, according to Buzzfeed.
Tantaros does name executives at the network in the suit, including its new co-president Bill Shine and public relations chief Irena Briganti, who she said contributed to and reinforced the hostile environment, according to Politico.
“[T]his Complaint is not just about Ailes; it also gives life to the saying that ‘the fish stinks from the head,’” the complaint reads. “For Ailes did not act alone. He may have been the primary culprit, but his actions were condoned by his most senior lieutenants, who engaged in a concerted effort to silence Tantaros by threats, humiliation, and retaliation.”
As for the former senator, Tantaros said “Brown 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,” it continues. “She immediately pulled back, telling Brown to ‘stop.’ Tantaros then immediately met with [then Fox News executive vice president Bill] Shine to complain, asking him to ensure that Brown would never be booked on the show again. Shine said that he would talk to Scott. Thereafter, Shine and Scott ignored Tantaros’s complaint, and continued to book Brown on ‘Outnumbered.’”
Brown told Politico in a written statement that those allegations were “completely and totally false.”
“Firstly, I don’t go to clubs,” he wrote. “Secondly, I had little, if any contact with Ms. Tantaros and always treated her and every other employee at Fox with professionalism. I was unaware of the matter. Thank you for bringing it up to me.”
Fox News does not comment on pending lawsuits against the organization, a representative told the website. Tantaros was engaged in a dispute with the network over her contract last winter, when the network accused her of writing a book without receiving written approval.
According to the New York Times, Fox’s chief lawyer argued in that case that Tantaros had invented sexual harassment claims to gain leverage. Her lawyer, Judd Burstein, reportedly said that dispute was being used by the network as a way to keep Tantaros from speaking publicly about her allegations.
The lawsuit comes after Roger Ailes stepped down following allegations from former Fox anchor Gretchen Carlson that he repeatedly sexually harassed her. He has denied the allegations.