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Former Fox News host Andrea Tantaros, who filed a lawsuit earlier this month claiming that ousted cable chief Roger Ailes sexually harassed her, is challenging current and former executives at the news network to a lie detector test.
Tantaros‘ lawyer sent out a document to reporters on Monday morning with a schedule of questions for Ailes, Fox News host Bill O’Reilly, Fox News spokesperson Irena Briganti, network co-president Bill Shine and vice president Dianna Brandi.
“The time has come […] either to let this case play out in the courtroom or to conduct an even-handed trial in the court of public opinion,” the email from attorney Judd Burstein reads.
The questions proposed for Ailes include, “Did you ever ask Ms. Tantaros to turn around for you?” and “Did you ever say anything to Ms. Tantaros about how she would look in a bikini?”
The questions also probe whether the network illegally spied on Tantaros, an allegation that has swirled around Fox News numerous times in the wake of Ailes‘ departure, who left the network in July amid a flurry of sexual harassment claims.
“Did anyone employed by Fox News ever request another Fox employee or independent contractor to surreptitiously obtain the password to Ms. Tantaros’s Gmail account?” the document reads.
It also asks of Ailes: “Is there an area of Fox News’ offices known as the ‘Black Room?'” The question refers to an alleged Fox News program that conducted PR and surveillance operations against enemies of the network.
A question for FNC co-president Bill Shine asks whether he “[directed] an independent contractor for Fox News to arrange for negative comments about Ms. Tantaros to be made on social media.”
FNC spokesperson Irena Briganti is asked if she “ever [told] a reporter that Ms. Tantaros had been taken off the air because she had engaged in a physical altercation with another female Fox News employee?”
The allegations are reminiscent of the scandal that hit another arm of Rupert Murdoch’s media empire in 2011, when News International, a subsidiary of News Corporation, was accused of engaging in phone hacking and police bribery. Flagship publication News of the World ceased operations in summer 2011 after advertisers boycotted the 168-year-old newspaper.
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