Fox News filed a motion for sanctions against Judd Burstein, the attorney representing former anchor Andrea Tantaros in a lawsuit that the network called “fiction” in court documents obtained by TheWrap.
Tantaros, a former host of the Fox show “The Five,” filed a lawsuit last month against Fox News and other executives, claiming that an extensive online harassment campaign had been waged against her.
“The allegations of the Complaint read like the plot of a television drama: Plaintiff Andrea Tantaros claims that her then-employer, Fox News Network, LLC (“Fox News”), hacked her laptop computer, tapped her telephone, and then tortured her with the information gathered from those acts by sending her coded messages through a ‘sockpuppet’ social media account. But pleadings in federal court are not supposed to be works of fiction; they must be grounded in fact,” the document states.
Tantaros’ lawsuit, filed in Manhattan Federal Court in April, charges the Fox News network, now-deceased former CEO Roger Ailes, former co-president Bill Shine, PR executive Irena Briganti, and social media consultant Peter Snyder for “digital character assassination” involving hacking and threats.
The Fox News motion continues: “The allegations in the Complaint are not just false, they are outrageously and flagrantly so.”
Fox News is now going after Burstein, claiming he should have known his client’s allegations were a “hoax.” The network has accused Bernstein of violating ethical responsibilities and has asked the court to refer the matter to discipline authorities.
“There are only two possibilities: Burstein either knew this and filed the Complaint maliciously or, if he did not, he failed to fulfill his basic professional obligations… to investigate his client’s claims,” the motion states.
In her lawsuit, Tantaros called her gig at Fox News her “dream job,” but alleged that she was “the victim of demeaning conduct, such as being instructed to wear clothes that showed off her legs, and being required to annually pick on-air clothing in the middle of a room without the benefit of even a curtain, thereby forcing her to strip down in front of Fox News wardrobe personnel.”
The motion was filed on Wednesday in the Southern District of New York on behalf of Fox News by the law firm Bechert LLP, the outside counsel representing the network in the lawsuit. Fox News is fighting back strongly against Tantaros’ lawsuit, after the network paid out $45 million to settle pending and potential litigation with other alleged harassment victims in the recent months.