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August 9, 2016

Andrea Tantaros is the latest Fox News female employee to publicly accuse ousted chairman and CEO Roger Ailes of sexual harassment, telling New York through her lawyer that she "made multiple harassment and hostile-workplace complaints" against Ailes, starting in April 2015, and that her complaints were why she was demoted from The Five to the midday show Outnumbered in February 2015, then benched this spring. In late 2014 and early 2015, Tantaros claims, Ailes told her in his private office that she must "really look good in a bikini" and unsuccessfully solicited an embrace. Tantaros has not been on the air at Fox News since April 25, and her lawyer, Judd Burstein, tells New York, "I believe it's retaliatory."

Tantaros is still being paid, though a "source close to the situation" tells Business Insider that she is likely to be fired soon. Fox News says Tantaros was pulled from the air for violating company policy, claiming she did not submit her latest book for approval by the network, as stipulated in her contract. Two sources familiar with the Tantaros legal dispute tell BuzzFeed the situation was more complicated, and that Fox News had investigated more than a dozen people while looking into her reports of abuse and harassment from at least five Fox News employees, none of whom was Ailes. Burstein, Tantaros' lawyer, says there was no such investigation and that BuzzFeed was being fed selectively misleading information.

Meanwhile, Vanity Fair's Sarah Ellison says that 21st Century Fox, the parent company of Fox News, has begun settlement talks with Gretchen Carlson, the former anchor whose sexual harassment allegations against Ailes started the investigation that forced his departure. The settlement is "expected to reach eight figures," sources say, because of "the existence of audio tapes recorded by multiple women in conversation with Ailes." If the settlement is reached out of court, the alleged tapes will stay out of the public record. But "if they litigate the case, all the tapes will become public, directly and through others," a source tells Ellison. "Then you will have a parade of women come in. Nobody wants that." Ailes, through his lawyer, denies all the harassment allegations. Peter Weber

5:19 p.m.

President Trump will be missing what could have been a crucial trip to Denmark after postponing it due to some "very not nice" comments from its prime minister.

Trump earlier this week announced he wouldn't be going on his planned trip to Denmark over Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen's rejection of his interest in purchasing Greenland, a notion she called "absurd." On Wednesday, Trump made clear this "absurd" comment is the reason he canceled, telling reporters, "You don't talk to the United States that way."

But The Atlantic notes that Trump's visit would have come at a key time when the United States is looking for "concessions" from Denmark and as portions of Frederiksen's government have "indicated that they would reject U.S. requests for increased support in the Middle East." Kristian Søby Kristensen, deputy director of the University of Copenhagen's Centre for Military Studies, explained to The Atlantic that there's currently resistance in Denmark to U.S. requests for increased Danish troops in Syria, as well as naval support in the Strait of Hormuz.

With that in mind, Kristensen noted the importance of this now-axed trip, saying, "if you want to convince a country of something, a state visit can be a good way." Frederiksen on Wednesday, however, said that decisions about potential Danish contributions in Syria or the Strait of Hormuz would not be affected by this snafu, The New York Times reports. The Atlantic writes that the delicate diplomatic situation could be at play as Frederiksen says that the relationship between Denmark and the U.S. is not "in crisis." Trump after Frederiksen's Wednesday comments went on to complain on Twitter about Denmark's contribution to NATO. Brendan Morrow

3:14 p.m.

The CEO of Overstock has resigned after divulging having been in a romantic relationship with convicted unregistered Russian agent Maria Butina and in a strange press release commenting on the "deep state."

Patrick Byrne in a letter to shareholders on Thursday said that he is in the "sad position of having to sever ties" with the company effective today, although he contends that "I did what was necessary for the good of the country," The New York Times reports.

Byrne referring to the fact that earlier this month, he said in a press release with the title "Overstock.com CEO Comments on Deep State, Withholds Further Comment" that he "assisted in what are now known as the 'Clinton Investigation' and the 'Russian Investigation,'" which "turned out to be ... political espionage conducted against
Hillary Clinton and
Donald Trump." In the bizarre statement, he also refers to FBI agents as the "Men in Black."

Byrne and his lawyer later spoke to The New York Times and clarified that he was talking about the fact that he dated Butina and spoke with the FBI during its investigation. He alleged in this interview that the investigation was mishandled and said that he is still "quite fond" of Butina, who pled guilty to acting as an unregistered foreign agent and is serving 18 months in prison. "Maria should go home and be president of Russia one day," Byrne told the Times.

In his Thursday announcement, Byrne says he spoke about this publicly after "I was reminded of the damage done to our nation for three years and felt my duty as a citizen precluded me from staying silent any longer." Now, he plans on "disappearing for some time." Following Byrne's announcement, CNN reports Overstock stock surged more than 10 percent. Brendan Morrow

1:58 p.m.

Up to 20 subpoenas have been served to correctional officers as part of the investigation into Jeffrey Epstein's death, CNN reports.

After the financier indicted on sex trafficking charges was on Aug. 10 found dead in his jail cell, investigations were opened by the FBI and the Justice Department's inspector general into the circumstances surrounding what a medical examiner later concluded to be a suicide. Reports have emerged in recent weeks suggesting protocol was not followed at New York's Metropolitan Correctional Center, where Epstein was being held. The New York Times has reported that two guards who were tasked with routinely checking on Epstein fell asleep on the job, leaving him unwatched for hours, and The Washington Post on Wednesday reported that at least eight staffers at the jail, including supervisors and managers, were aware that Epstein was not to be left alone.

Now, CNN reports that "as many as 20" correctional officers from the Metropolitan Correctional Center received grand jury subpoenas last week, with investigators in particular wanting to "talk to the lieutenants who were in charge that night to get details on rounds that were not made." CNN also reports that "more subpoenas could be in the works as the investigation widens." Attorney General William Barr, who has said he was "appalled" to learn of Epstein's death, has promised that "we will get to the bottom of what happened" and recently replaced the head of the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

In its Wednesday report on the investigation, the Post noted that the eight officers' "apparent disregard for the instruction" to keep Epstein under supervision "does not necessarily mean there was criminal conduct" and that it may be a "simpler and sadder" case of "bureaucratic incompetence spanning multiple individuals and ranks within the organization." Barr has said the investigation's findings will be ready to share with the public "soon."

Brendan Morrow

1:10 p.m.

You should have no trouble at all keeping your fancy new Apple credit card in tip-top shape, the company says, so long as you keep it away from ... one or two things.

Apple has released an official list of instructions for how to handle its physical titanium Apple Card after its credit card service officially launched in the U.S. earlier this week, as noted by Apple Insider. The company warns, first of all, that if the card should come into contact with leather or denim, it may receive "permanent discoloration that will not wash off."

But that's not all. Apple also warns that you dare not allow your card to touch other credit cards, as "if two credit cards are placed in the same slot your card could become scratched." Oh, and it can't come into contact with "potentially abrasive objects," such as loose change or keys. Other than nearly every single thing that a credit card typically comes into contact with, though, you're all good. Apple provided no word on whether you can feed it after midnight.

Of course, getting a physical card when signing up for Apple's credit card service isn't entirely necessary, so customers can not be bothered with any of this headache by simply sticking to the app.

The titanium Apple Card, which has no number printed on it and looks like something Patrick Bateman would absolutely love, even comes with cleaning instructions for when you need to wipe it down with a microfiber cloth, which, based on this extensive list of dangerous contaminants, sounds like it will be fairly often. The day when Apple begins selling screen protector-style add-ons for its credit cards to ensure not one single fingerprint rubs off on its impeccably-crafted surface may not be far away. Brendan Morrow

11:12 a.m.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders might not be going on Dancing with the Stars like her White House predecessor, Sean Spicer, but she's just lined up a new TV gig of her own.

The former White House press secretary, who announced her resignation in June after almost two years on the job, has been hired by Fox News as a contributor, The Hollywood Reporter reports. She's set to make her debut on Fox & Friends, Trump's favorite morning show, on Sept. 6. In a statement, Sanders said she is "beyond proud" to join Fox's "incredible stable of on-air contributors in providing political insights and analysis."

Sanders being hired by the Trump-friendly network may put the president at ease, as he has in recent months complained about Fox, especially as its news division has conducted polls showing him losing to 2020 Democrats.

"Fox has changed, and my worst polls have always been from Fox," Trump recently said, Deadline reports. “There's something going on at Fox. I'll tell you right now. And I'm not happy with it.”

Trump, who also attacked the network earlier this year over a town hall with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) in which moderator Bret Baier was supposedly too "smiley and nice," has been so concerned that The Daily Beast reports he's been "repeatedly" asking various people, "what the hell is going on at Fox?"

Sanders is just the latest former Trump administration official to join Fox. Former White House Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah is currently the Fox Corporation's senior vice president, while former White House Communications Director Hope Hicks is its executive vice president and chief communications officer. Numerous members of Trump's administration are also former Fox News contributors. Brendan Morrow

10:44 a.m.

President Trump has apparently not just been mulling over the idea of adding territory to the United States. He might want to get rid of some, too.

Trump this week abruptly called off a meeting with Denmark over its prime minister's "very not nice" remark that his idea of buying Greenland was "absurd," and The New York Times reports that a potential Greenland purchase has been on the president's mind for "more than a year." He also told his National Security Council to look into it.

But that's not all. The Times reports that last year, Trump "joked in a meeting about trading Puerto Rico for Greenland," as he was "happy to rid himself" of it.

Though not a serious suggestion, Trump's joke may have had a kernel of truth in it, as he has on numerous occasions feuded with Puerto Rico's leaders and labeled them "grossly incompetent." He has, in particular, repeatedly gone after San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz, who has slammed his administration's response to Hurricane Maria as a "historic failure." Trump has defended his Maria response and last month praised himself for doing a "great job" while declaring that he is "the best thing that ever happened to Puerto Rico." He added, "I have many Puerto Rican friends." Brendan Morrow

9:51 a.m.

Andrew Yang's 2020 campaign just got a little bit weirder.

The tech entrepreneur has peppered his Democratic presidential run with charmingly odd tidbits about himself, notably promising to be the first "ex-goth" president and constantly reiterating how much he loves math. Yet in a Politico profile published Thursday, Yang let his pectoral muscles do the talking, with slightly disturbing results.

Yang, like his fellow millennials, spent his adolescence and young adulthood working through several phases. To Politico, he described himself as an "angsty" and "brooding" kid who read a lot of sci-fi and listened to a mix of Pearl Jam and Sarah McLachlan. Yang's personality evolved in college at Brown University, where he "started to lift weights, mostly to try to get dates, and was proud to be able to bench press 225 pounds eight to 10 times in a row," Politico writes.

Thus sums up the origin story of "Rex" and "Lex," Yang's right and left pectoral muscles, respectively. And back in college, Yang "could jostle them on command" to make them "talk," he wrote in his 2014 book Smart People Should Build Things. Today, Yang acknowledges, they're "almost mute," though Rex did sputter out a few sentences to Politico: "Andrew, I still have a little bit of voice left. You haven’t fed me in a long time. You used to looooove meeeeeee.'"

Read about more than just Yang's abandoned workout regimen at Politico. Kathryn Krawczyk

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