Fox News Channel says Andrea Tantaros is not a "victim" but "an opportunist" in its response to the sexual-harassment lawsuit filed last week by the former Fox News host.
In that response, filed Monday in New York, the network is calling for arbitration which it says is in accordance with her employment agreement. The network notes that she is already a party to pending arbitration after having been suspended by Fox, which has accused her of breaching her employment agreement by writing a book without prior authorization by the network.
Fox News claims it learned of Tantaros' book, "Tied Up in Knots ... How Getting What We Wanted Made Women Miserable" in March, a few weeks before it was published.
"This Court should compel Tantaros to proceed in the arbitration proceeding that is already underway," Fox News contends.
Tantaros last week sued the network, its ousted chairman and other top executives, claiming they retaliated after she detailed unwanted sexual advances made by her onetime boss, Roger Ailes. Tantaros, who described Fox in her lawsuit as a "sex-fueled, Playboy Mansion-like cult," said after she complained last spring about Ailes, one of his top deputies, William Shine, warned her that Ailes was a "very powerful man" and that she "needed to let this one go."
Shine was promoted to co-president of Fox News after Ailes resigned last month amid sexual harassment complaints by another former anchor, Gretchen Carlson, who claimed in a lawsuit of her own that she was fired for refusing his sexual advances. He has denied those accusations.
Commenting on Fox's filing, Tantaros' lawyer, Judd Burstein, said, "Fox's right to arbitrate is a legal issue on which I am confident Ms. Tantaros will prevail." He added, "If Mr. Shine and his minions are innocent, why do they want this dispute to be resolved in the shadows (with arbitration)?"
Tantaros, a former panelist on "The Five" who was moved to co-host the lesser-viewed "Outnumbered," was pulled off the air a few weeks ago. She claimed that Fox executives used the dispute about her book to try to silence her.
While she claims the network has retaliated against her, "she concedes that she has not been terminated and remains on Fox News' payroll," the network says.
Tantaros says she was subjected to "demeaning conduct," as when Ailes allegedly asked her twice to "turn around so I can get a good look at you," adding, on one occasion, "Come over here so I can give you a hug."
But when she complained, network executives retaliated by cutting her air time and planting news stories meant to tarnish her image, her lawsuit claims.
The Fox News response says her "unverified complaint ... bears all the hallmarks of the 'wannabe'...."