On Good Morning America, Andrea Tantaros Explains The “Pervasive ... Culture Of Misogyny And Sexism” At Fox News

From the October 4 edition of ABC's Good Morning America:

Video file

AMY ROBACH (CO-HOST): So you just heard Fox lawyers calling you there an opportunist. They say that your lawsuit is a retaliation for being suspended over a book you published this year. What do you say to that?

ANDREA TANTAROS: Well, I had been complaining about sexual harassment and retaliation, Amy, a year before the scandal even broke out at Fox News Channel, the first to complain.

ROBACH: Before Gretchen Carlson?

TANTAROS: Before Gretchen Carlson. And my complaints crescendoed about harassment and retaliation. And when they got to a fever pitch, that's the point where all of a sudden they made up this pretext that I had violated a book contract. And Fox had approved my book. I had not violated any of the contractual guidelines. So it's just made up to basically act as a smokescreen for their behavior.

ROBACH: In your lawsuit it says that beginning in the summer of 2014 you experienced a, quote, “nightmare of sexual harassment by Roger Ailes and others.” Roger Ailes denies that. Fox says the suit is filled with falsehoods. What are you specifically alleging that Ailes did?

TANTAROS: Well, 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 he said, “We need to get you a tighter dress.” And I responded, I think pretty forcefully. But this was, Amy, after numerous times of him insulting me, making degrading comments about personal relationships, about my figure. That's what he did and then the retaliation was even worse.

ROBACH: You complained about him, you say, last year. 


ROBACH: But in your book, it's important to note, Tied Up in Knots, you wrote, “I'd like to thank Roger Ailes for seeing in me early on the sociopolitical tour de force I've become.” Why did you publicly thank him in the book and then name him in your lawsuit now?

TANTAROS: 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.

ROBACH: Fox has released a couple of statements in response to this lawsuit. Among them, 21st Century Fox “has made clear its commitment to providing a safe and dignified workplace at Fox News.” You began working there back in 2010, and a place you say was defined by a culture of sexism. How so?

TANTAROS: Well, it was pervasive. I mean comments here and there that were made that you were expected to just ignore. And if you complained, you were punished for them. You know in hindsight --

ROBACH: Punished how?

TANTAROS: Well, you would get your airtime taken away from you. I mean, I haven't even been allowed to participate in the election coverage as a political analyst. I was demoted from a show that I launched, The Five, after I rebuffed Roger Ailes. And then I had my book destroyed 12 hours before the launch. I mean, they could have come to me and said, “We have objections with your book.” My lawyer was in contact with them for weeks and they didn't do that. It was deliberately designed to hurt me and cause pain and that's what they did there.

ROBACH: Your lawyer says you were already offered a seven-figure deal to settle this lawsuit.

TANTAROS: That's right.

ROBACH: Roger Ailes is out. He's gone. So what do you want?

TANTAROS: Well, first of all, the seven-figure lawsuit would have had me renouncing my sexual harassment complaints, one. Two, they wanted me to publicly admit, lie basically to the public, and say that I violated my book contract, which I didn't do. So I wasn't going to lie. And, three, they wanted to guarantee my internal silence, which was never going to happen. What they don't have is accountability. And that's why I'm speaking out.

ROBACH: So what is accountability to you?

TANTAROS: Well, I think a culture change at Fox News is in order. It's a culture of misogyny and sexism. And if you get vocal about it, if you get loud, they will act punitively.


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