Last August, former Fox News anchor Andrea Tantaros filed suit against her erstwhile employer, memorably alleging that despite Fox News' promotion of traditional family values on air, "behind the scenes, it operates like a sex-fueled, Playboy Mansion-like cult, steeped in intimidation, indecency, and misogyny." That suit is in arbitration, but on Monday, Tantaros reached into popular culture again to allege in a new federal lawsuit that after she accused since-ousted Fox News chief Roger Ailes of sexually harassing her in 2015, the network hacked her personal laptop and cyberstalked her using "sock-puppet" social media accounts, like on an episode of Homeland.
Fox News sent operatives to install surveillance software on her computer, monitored her phone conversations, and then used the private information it gleaned about her to "intimidate, terrorize, and crush her career through an endless stream of lewd, offensive, and career-damaging social media posts, blog entries, and commentary," according to Tarantos' lawsuit. Her lawyer, Judd Burstein, said it amounted to "cyberstalking on steroids," with the network having "harassed her through sock-puppet social media accounts which conveyed the illegal fruits of their electronic surveillance of her. It was in essence two crimes committed at the same time."
Fox News, through its lawyers, said the network and its executives "flatly deny that they conducted any electronic surveillance of Ms. Tantaros" and "have no knowledge of the anonymous or pseudonymous tweets described in her complaint." Susan Estrich, a lawyer for Ailes, said the new suit has no merit and called it another "obvious attempt to get publicity." Burstein noted that News International, a news organization that, like Fox News, is owned by the Murdoch family, faced a damaging phone-hacking scandal in Britain in 2011. Ailes and Fox News star Bill O'Reilly were both fired, with generous severance packages, following multiple sexual harassment allegations. Peter Weber
Update May 22, 2018: The case described above was dismissed on the grounds that the complaint "is based primarily on speculation and conjecture."