Thursday, February 16, 2017

Reports: Feds Probing Fox News Settlements

Andrea Tantaros
Federal prosecutors may be investigating 21st Century Fox over settlements it paid to individuals who filed sexual harassment suits against former Fox News CEO Roger Ailes, according to an attorney for one of the plaintiffs.

In New York State Supreme Court Wednesday, the attorney for former Fox News host Andrea Tantaros, Judd Burstein, said he had been served with a subpoena from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York for another client about the claims filed against Ailes.

According to USAToday, Fox won the issue of the day when Judge David Benjamin Cohen ruled that Tantaros' case against Ailes should go to an arbitrator, as Fox had sought. Neither Fox News nor parent company 21st Century Fox had received a subpoena on its own, but has been cooperating with the U.S. Attorney's office, the company said.

Tantaros' sexual harassment suit, filed in August 2016, came a month after Gretchen Carlson, another former Fox News broadcaster, sued Ailes for sexual harassment, claiming he opted not to renew her contract after she refused to sleep with him.

Gretchen Carlson
21st Century Fox settled the case, agreeing to pay Carlson $20 million. Ailes, who denied the allegations, left the company in July with a $40 million settlement. Fox also conducted an internal investigation.

Fox News host Megyn Kelly, who left the network in January for NBC, said Ailes had harassed her starting in 2005 in her book Settle for More. Fox, which is controlled by billionaire mogul Rupert Murdoch, has settled other claims, the network has confirmed.

In Tantaros' lawsuit against Fox News, Ailes and other Fox executives, she alleged the news network "operates like a sex-fueled, Playboy Mansion-like cult, steeped in intimidation, indecency, and misogyny."

In its response, Fox said that Tantaros had been suspended for breaching her contract by publishing a book without company approval and that Tantaros never complained about Ailes in an internal probe of her claims.

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