-- Fox News has responded to a lawsuit filed by one of its former female staff members alleging sexual harassment, saying that Andrea Tantaros “is not a victim; she is an opportunist” and that her “unverified” lawsuit “bears all the hallmarks of the ‘wannabe’.”
The misconduct, she claimed, was condoned by top brass at Fox News, some of whom were promoted in the wake of Ailes' widely publicized departure in July.
Seeking to move the dispute to arbitration, Fox News said that Tantaros never complained of harassment by Ailes “in the course of an investigation months ago,” according to court documents obtained by ABC News.
Judd Burstein, a lawyer for Tantaros, hit back on Monday in an email to ABC News. “If Mr. Shine and his minions are innocent, why do they want this dispute to be resolved in the shadows?” Burstein said, referring to arbitration, the proceedings of which would presumably remain confidential. “An innocent person would be so outraged that he or she would want public vindication.”
The documents claim that another lawyer for Tantaros did not return a call from a law firm conducting an internal investigation into allegations made by several women against Ailes.
Burstein said that the charge of the unreturned phone call was “absolutely false.”
He added: “Even if it were true, why is it that Paul Weiss never reached out to me after this lawsuit was filed?”
In separate filings, Ailes’ lawyers also called for the case to be moved to arbitration, calling the allegations “false” and saying her lawsuit was “full of lies and halftruths.”
“From the first page of her Complaint, Ms. Tantaros reverts to tabloid fodder, smearing Mr. Ailes based on no findings of any court or body of competent jurisdiction, and certainly not on her own experience, since she was never harassed by Mr. Ailes,” the lawyers said. “As the Fox News Defendants’ brief makes clear, not once did Ms. Tantaros ever complain that Mr. Ailes had sexually harassed her, much less that she had been retaliated against as a result.”
Burstein also responded to Ailes’ lawyers’ separate filing, saying, “Fox News has all but acknowledged that Roger Ailes did sexually harass Andrea Tantaros because its lawyers are representing every defendant in the suit other than Roger Ailes.”
“They have dropped him like the proverbial hot potato in the hope that his former cabal members can continue in place,” he added.
Ailes left the network in July.
The Fox News documents provided to ABC News by the media company only briefly mention the allegations made against Brown, saying: “His interactions with Tantaros were professional and cordial, and in full view of other personnel and talent.”
In her filing earlier this month, Tantaros said that Brown “made a number of sexually inappropriate comments to Tantaros on set” during an appearance on “Outnumbered,” a program she hosted. She also alleged that the former senator said she “would be fun to go to a nightclub with,” and “snuck up behind” her while she was buying lunch and “put his hands on her lower waist.”
Brown, who represented Massachusetts in the Senate from 2010 until 2013, has called the accusations “false,” according to the Boston Globe.
In an email to the newspaper after news of the suit first broke, Brown said: “Her statement about our limited on air, green room interactions are false.”
“There were never any circumstances of any kind whatsoever in which I had any interaction with her or any other employee at Fox, outside the studio,” he told the newspaper. He said that all interactions were “always in full view of all staff, personnel and talent.”
He added that any other encounters were “professional and cordial,” according to the paper.
Tantaros is not the first person to allege sexual misconduct at Fox News.
Former morning and daytime host Gretchen Carlson filed a lawsuit earlier this summer after 11 years at the company, claiming that Ailes had “sabotaged” her career after she “refused his sexual advances,” and that her job was terminated in retaliation for rebuffing him and complaining to him about sexual harassment.
Fox News and Ailes have denied Carlson's allegations in the past, calling it a "retaliatory suit for the network's decision not to renew her contract" because of "disappointingly low ratings."
After that story's publication, Susan Estrich, Ailes' lawyer, told ABC News that her client “never sexually harassed Megyn Kelly.”
ABC News’ Josh Margolin contributed to this report.