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Andrea Tantaros brings new accusations against Fox News, claiming digital hacking

Andrea Tantaros brings new accusations against Fox News, claiming digital hacking
Andrea Tantaros, right, has filed a new complaint against Fox News. She is a former co-host of Fox News' "The Five." (Carlo Allegri / Invision / Associated Press)

Andrea Tantaros, the former Fox News co-host of "The Five" and "Outnumbered," contended in a lawsuit filed Monday that the conservative cable news channel retaliated against her claims of sexual harassment by hacking her computer and conducting surveillance of telephone calls and emails.

The lengthy complaint, filed in a New York federal court, also claims that the news channel mounted a clandestine campaign on Twitter in an attempt to discredit and harass her.

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Fox News denied the allegations. A statement from company lawyers called them "a flimsy pretext to keep Ms. Tantaros and her sexual harassment claims in the public eye after the State Supreme Court directed her to bring them in arbitration."

The news channel denied it conducted surveillance against Tantaros and said it had "no knowledge of the anonymous or pseudonymous tweets described in her complaint."

The new suit represents the latest legal salvo against Fox News, which has been reeling in recent months from sexual harassment claims brought by former employees and on-air personalities. Last week, the channel dismissed host Bill O'Reilly following multiple accusations of sexual harassment and a boycott from several advertisers.

Roger Ailes, the former Fox News CEO, resigned last year after a number of employees, including host Gretchen Carlson, claimed that he made sexual advances.

Among the Ailes accusers was Tantaros, who claimed in a lawsuit filed in August that Fox News removed her from an on-air position in retaliation for making a sexual harassment complaint against the chief executive. She also accused the channel of orchestrating a cover-up and perpetuating a corporate culture of "intimidation, indecency, and misogyny."

In her new complaint, Tantaros alleges that Fox News executives are engaging in a campaign to "emotionally torture" her in the hope that she will "give up her claims that she was sexually harassed." The suit names Fox News co-President Bill Shine and the channel's publicist, Irena Briganti, claiming they are leading the retaliation efforts.

Tantaros is claiming that Fox News hacked her personal computer and monitored her emails as well as her private phone conversations. She said the content of those private communications later surfaced in "cruel" social media posts that came from fake accounts, or "sock puppets."

The suit states that the social media campaign on Twitter continued well after Tantaros departed Fox News and was intended "to emotionally devastate her and make her concerned for her physical safety."

Tantaros is seeking compensatory and punitive damages in the suit.

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