The host, Andrea Tantaros, alleged in a previous lawsuit that she had been sexually harassed by former Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes and former top-rated Fox News host Bill O'Reilly. That suit has been stayed while her complaints against the network are being heard in binding private arbitration. All defendants, through their own representatives or through Fox's parent company, 21st Century Fox, vehemently denied Tantaros' initial allegations.
In Monday's federal lawsuit, Tantaros alleges that Fox News executives including co-President Bill Shine orchestrated the use of material gathered by electronic eavesdropping that was fed to Twitter accounts acting on the network's behalf. Ensuing tweets, she says, reflected knowledge of details of intimate conversations and exchanges with family members and friends. Tantaros alleges this was done to try to undermine her resolve in challenging the network on sexual harassment.
As you may know News Corp the parent company of Fox has a long and scandalous history of tapping people's phones.
According to the lawsuit Fox was fairly nasty in how they used the stolen information:
The suit alleges a rise in offensive material on social media accounts directed toward Tantaros in early 2015, when, she says, she first notified Shine and other Fox News executives that Ailes had harassed her.
Then in May 2016, according to the complaint, several Twitter accounts started to post material suggesting direct knowledge of her conversations.
For example, a picture of a movie about a black scorpion was posted just after she learned that a friend had been bitten by one. Another tweet invoked the idea of a memorial for Tantaros' dead brother, just after she and her mother had spoken of it; the third anniversary of his death was still a few months away.
And at the same time that Tantaros was talking to the children of her other brother while they were at Disneyland, according to the lawsuit, a tweet on one of the accounts posted a photograph of Mickey Mouse hugging two children.
"This is not just cyberstalking," Tantaros' lawyer, Judd Burstein, told NPR. "This is cyberstalking on steroids, because, as alleged in the complaint, they 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."
Certainly sounds like something Fox News would do, doesn't it.
(Similar tactics were used against me back when I reported on the Palin marriage troubles. I was not hacked I don't think, but IM was scoured for dirt and then the information was misrepresented on various right wing news outlets in a way to impugn my character. So I have seen these tactics at work.)
If the lawyer for Tantaros can make these allegations stick, I see a big payout in their future.