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Fox News moves to dismiss lawsuit by former on-air host Andrea Tantaros

Andrea Tantaros
Former Fox News personality Andrea Tantaros
(Getty Images)

Fox News is seeking the dismissal of a lawsuit by former on-air personality Andrea Tantaros that claims the company hacked her computer and conducted surveillance of her phone calls and emails.

In a motion filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court, Fox News said Tantaros’ allegations that fake Twitter accounts were set up to harass her were spurious.

In an April 24 lawsuit, Tantaros alleged that the conservative cable news channel hacked her private communications and launched a clandestine campaign on Twitter in attempt to discredit her and pressure her to drop a sexual harassment claim against Roger Ailes, the late network chairman who was ousted last year over claims that he mistreated several women.

The suit said the content of her private communications surfaced in “cruel” social media posts that came from fake accounts, or “sock puppets,” and were intended “to emotionally devastate her and make her concerned for her physical safety.”

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But in its motion Wednesday, Fox News said Tantaros’ allegations “are not just false, they are outrageously and flagrantly so.”

Fox News said the Twitter account that allegedly referred to Tantaros’ personal communications belonged to Daniel Wayne Block of Gainesville, Fla., who had no connection to Fox News “other than as a fan.” Block’s Twitter account had tweeted photos of Tantaros and of subjects that came up in her personal correspondence.

Fox News lawyers said Block posted tweets on many of the topics cited in Tantaros’ complaint before the allegedly monitored telephone conversations occurred.

Fox News is asking that Tantaros’ complaint be dismissed and that her lawyer, Judd Burstein, be sanctioned for failing to sufficiently research the claims made.

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In a statement, Burstein noted that his complaint cited that Block is a real person and alleges that he allowed his account to be used by Fox News to harass Tantaros. He described Block’s declaration used in the Fox News motion as perjury.

“Mr. Block’s declaration is incredible in terms of its convenient coincidences, and also because I will be able to show that some portions of it are demonstrably false,” Burstein said.

Tantaros also has a suit against Fox News that alleges she was removed from her on-air position last spring in retaliation for making sexual harassment complaints against Ailes and former anchor Bill O’Reilly.

Fox News has denied Tantaros’ claims and maintained that she was taken off the air because a book she wrote was not vetted by the network before she promoted it on the air, a violation of company policy.

The suit filed in August 2016, is now in arbitration. Tantaros, who was a co-host on the daytime program “Outnumbered” and also appeared on “The Five,” has been off the air since April 2016.

Fox News has been hit with a number of harassment complaints since former anchor Gretchen Carlson sued Ailes for sexual harassment and retaliation last year. Most have been settled out of court.


UPDATES:

12:20 p.m.: This article was updated with additional details on Fox News’ move to dismiss the Andrea Tantaros lawsuit.

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This article was originally published at 9:20 a.m.


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