Former Fox News host Andrea Tantaros is pushing to litigate her sexual harassment claim against ex-Fox News chief Roger Ailes in court and has new documents that bolster her case, her lawyer said Wednesday.
Tantaros has accused Ailes and other leaders at the network, including co-president Bill Shine, of harassing her. Her attorney, Judd Burstein, says a recent court filing with sworn statements from Tantaros’ former clinical therapist corroborate these claims.
Dr. Michele Berdy said in the sworn affidavit filed Sept. 15 that Tantaros initially came to see her in late 2013 to cope with her brother’s death. Soon after, she said, Tantaros brought up how she was being treated by Ailes, Shine, Fox News host Bill O’Reilly and Fox News PR boss Irena Briganti.
Berdy affirmed Tantaros’ previously reported claims that Ailes asked her to turn around so he could view her backside; advised her to wear tighter dresses; asked her about the sex lives of various Fox News employees; inquired whether she planned to marry; spoke to her about how he thought she would look in a bikini; and berated her over her relationship with an ex-boyfriend.
“Dr. Berdy’s affidavit unequivocally demonstrates that Mr. Shine and Mr. Ailes are not only misogynists; they are liars,” Burstein said in a statement.
Dr. Berdy’s affidavit unequivocally demonstrates that Mr. Shine and Mr. Ailes are not only misogynists; they are liars. Judd Burstein, Andrea Tantaros' attorney
Berdy said she reached out to Tantaros after reading that Fox News was denying the former host’s claims.
“I emailed Andrea to let her know I knew she was telling the truth because she had told me, in a therapeutic setting where she would have no motive to lie, about the conduct of Mr. Ailes, Mr. Shine, Mr. O’Reilly, Ms. Briganti and others at the time,” Berdy wrote.
Tantaros waived her patient-client privilege regarding these sessions, according to Burstein.
Ailes stepped down from his role as chairman and CEO of the network in July with a $40 million severance.
Tantaros is one of about 20 women who has accused him of harassment. Fox News reached a $20 million settlement with former host Gretchen Carlson, who reportedly recorded incriminating conversations with Ailes, earlier this month.
Tantaros has rejected a “seven-figure” payout to renounce her claims, Burstein said. Fox News’ parent company, 21st Century Fox, filed a motion last month to force Tantaros into arbitration.
“This is not going to be a case of just writing a large check,” Burstein told The Huffington Post by phone Wednesday. “Our view is that if Roger Ailes can walk off with a $40 million award for being a sexual predator, one of his victims should at least receive as much.”
“There’s no amount in the world that will result in just a settlement — she’s not going to settle for just dollars,” he added. “There has to be an admission of what was done to her, and there has to be systemic change.”
“We stand by our earlier motion to compel arbitration,” Fox News said in a statement.
Tantaros’ goal is to clean house at Fox News and eradicate what Burstein called a “sexist, humiliating, eroticized culture of misogyny, intimidation and pervasive sexual thuggery.”
Tantaros maintains she was demoted in retaliation for resisting Ailes’ advances and complaining about how he treated her, including to Shine and the company’s human resources department.
A spokeswoman for 21st Century Fox did not immediately respond to requests for comment. The company has previously said that Tantaros was not retaliated against for her complaints but rather disciplined for breaking company policy after she failed to let the network vet a book she wrote.
This article has been updated with a statement from Fox News.