On Tuesday, former Fox News host Andrea Tantaros filed a lawsuit claiming that she was sexually harassed by multiple people while at that job, including Roger Ailes and Bill O’Reilly, both men who have dealt with (or are dealing with) lawsuits from other women. She also claims she was harassed by guests who appeared on the show, including former Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown (R).
By Wednesday, Brown was defending himself from the allegations and implying that he is the real victim.
In her lawsuit, Tantaros claims that when Brown appeared on Outnumbered, he made “a number of sexually inappropriate comments” to her on set and then later in the cafeteria put his hands on her lower waist. None of her claims related to something that happened on air.
On the “Bernie and Sid Show” on 77 WABC Radio in New York City, Brown said that in that segment, however, it was Tantaros who made him uncomfortable, not the other way around.
In the Outnumbered segment, Tantaros asked Scott Brown about posing nude for Cosmo in 1982 and the hosts proceeded to tease him about it. “Not only is she inquiring about me and what I did when I was 22 years old…I was very uncomfortable with her line of badgering with me.”
He later added, “I’m pissed, I’m a little flabbergasted” to be named in the lawsuit.
And he implied that Tantaros’ line of questioning about his nude spread indicates that no harassment occurred. “Tapes don’t lie, and it’s right there for everybody to see how it went. That show, she was so upset, boy you wouldn’t know it by the way she’s kind of badgering and poking fun of me and my past.”
He also said Tantaros never told him that he had made her uncomfortable. The vast majority of harassment victims never say anything about their experiences.
Brown also dismissed the claims by saying that if he had done what is alleged, he would have faced immediate consequences at Fox.
“This allegedly happened a year ago,” he said. “Since then I’ve not only signed a new contract [with Fox], got a raise, I’m on almost every day… I had [Fox executive] Bill Shine call my house yesterday and say, ‘Listen, you’re one of our best employees.’”
“I would have been fired immediately if I had done anything,” he added.
That’s not what women have said about the culture at Fox, however. In her lawsuit against Roger Ailes alleging sexual harassment, former Fox News host Gretchen Carlson claims that she was harassed by coworker Steve Doocy but when she complained about what happened, she was the one who was penalized for it.
Tantaros similarly claims that she told Bill Shine, who is one of the people who has since been promoted to take over for Ailes after he was ousted, about the harassment she faced from Ailes but he told her to “let this one go.” In the end she says she was removed from the air in retaliation for complaining.
Another former on-air employee, Rudi Bakhtiar, has claimed that after she rejected sexual advances from colleague Brian Wilson, she was told to report the incident to human resources and then subsequently fired.
Brown also defended himself on Wednesday by saying that he couldn’t have harassed Tantaros because it would have occurred in front of 25 other people on set — all of the technicians who make the shows run — and nearly 100 people in the cafeteria. But if these women’s stories are to be believed, Fox created a permissive environment in which it was known that women were harassed without consequence.
The radio hosts, for their part, cast Tantaros as a liar, saying she had claimed to date guitarist David Navarro, which he denied. They also argued that Brown is an “easy target” because he’s a “good looking” and “friendly guy.”
One called the lawsuit “the worst kind of slander.”