Fox News host Andrea Tantaros says she was taken off the air after making sexual-harassment claims against Roger Ailes

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Fox News' senior executives have said they were unaware of sexual-harassment allegations against Roger Ailes before former anchor Gretchen Carlson filed a lawsuit against him in July. But those claims are now being challenged by Fox host Andrea Tantaros, who says that she complained multiple times to senior Fox executives in 2015 about Ailes's inappropriate sexual behavior toward her. Tantaros says that, after she came forward, she was first demoted and eventually taken off the air in April 2016. Fox continues to pay her.

SEE ALSO: Fox News chief Ailes resigns after sexual harassment claims

Through her lawyer, Judd Burstein, Tantaros says that both she and her agent told Fox executive vice-president Bill Shine, senior vice-president Suzanne Scott, and general counsel Dianne Brandi about episodes of Ailes's alleged harassment. "She made multiple harassment and hostile-workplace complaints," Burstein says. As far as Tantaros knows, Fox executives never investigated her complaints, Burstein says; instead, they claim, Fox sidelined her. "I believe it's retaliatory," says Burstein.

Fox's attorneys dispute this. The network says Tantaros was suspended with pay because she violated company policy by not allowing Fox to vet her 2016 book, Tied Up in Knots: How Getting What They Wanted Has Made Women Miserable. Fox attorneys told Burstein the network was embarrassed by her book's cover, which depicts Tantaros bound by ropes.

See images of Ailes throughout the years:

Roger Ailes through the years
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Roger Ailes through the years
NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 13: In this handout photo provided by FOX News, FOX News Channel Chairman and CEO Roger Ailes is photographed November 13, 2015 at the networks Manhattan headquarters New York City. (Photo by Wesley Mann/FOX News via Getty Images)
Bill O'Reilly, tv columnist, at left, shown here with Roger Ailes, Chairman and CEO of FOX tv at the Radio & TV Correspondents annual dinner held at the Washington Hilton. (Photo by Susan Biddle/The Washington Post/Getty Images)
SLUG: ST/AILES DATE: 3/23/99 NP PHOTOG: Helayne Seidman/FTWP multi use LOCATION: Fox News, 1211 6th Ave. NYC SUMMARY: Roger Ailes, president of Fox TV CAPTION: Roger Ailes, president of Fox TV, in the Fox TV control room. Original Filename: npsent.JPG ORG XMIT: ; 29
385602 07: Fox News Chairman and CEO Roger Ailes, right, testifies during a hearing on election night 2000 coverage by the networks before the House committee on energy and commerce February 14, 2001 on Capitol Hill in Washington, D. C. Heads of major news organizations have converged on Capitol Hill to testify before Congress, explaining the mistaken calls made on Election Night and promising changes to prevent further errors. (Photo by Alex Wong/Newsmakers)
WASHINGTON - OCTOBER 25: Chairman and CEO of the Fox News Network Roger Ailes participates in the 'America's Best Leaders: How do they lead? Where are they taking us?' National Issues Briefing hosted by U.S. News and World Report October 25, 2005 at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. The talk was held in collaboration with the Center for Public Leadership at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images for U.S. News and World Report)
NEW YORK - JUNE 26: (L-R) Variety Editor Peter Bart and Producer Roger Ailes attend a cocktail party hosted by Harvey and Bob Weinstein and Miramax Books to celebrate Peter Bart's new book ''BOFFO'' on June 26, 2006 in New York City. (Photo by Peter Kramer/Getty Images)
PASADENA, CA - JULY 24: Chairman & CEO, FOX News Roger Ailes from 'Fox News' speaks onstage during the 2006 Summer Television Critics Association Press Tour for the FOX Broadcasting Company at the Ritz-Carlton Huntington Hotel on July 24, 2006 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON - JANUARY 08: Roger Ailes, president of FOX News, poses with his wife Elizabeth on the red carpet upon arrival at a salute to FOX News Channel's Brit Hume on January 8, 2009 in Washington, DC. Hume was honored for his 35 years in journalism. (Photo by Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 11: Fox News President Roger Ailes attends the Hollywood Reporter celebrates 'The 35 Most Powerful People in Media' at the Four Season Grill Room on April 11, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Charles Eshelman/FilmMagic)
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JANUARY 21: Copies of the new book The Loudest Voice in the Room are displayed at a Books Inc. bookstore on January 21, 2014 in San Francisco, United States. The unauthorized biography of FOX News president Roger Ailes written by New York magazine writer Gabriel Sherman hit bookstore shelves on January 14. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 13: In this handout photo provided by FOX News, FOX News Channel Chairman and CEO Roger Ailes is photographed November 13, 2015 at the networks Manhattan headquarters New York City. (Photo by Wesley Mann/FOX News via Getty Images)

According to Tantaros's account, Ailes began harassing her on August 12, 2014. During a meeting in Ailes's office, Ailes allegedly asked Tantaros to do "the twirl" so he could see her figure. She refused. Then, in mid-December of that year, Ailes made another advance, Burstein says. "Ailes asked her to turn around, and then he said, 'Come over here so I can give you a hug.'" Tantaros rebuffed the advance, Burstein says.

In February 2015, Tantaros was pulled off the 5 p.m. program The Five and demoted to working full-time on the midday show Outnumbered. In February 2015, according to Burstein, Ailes allegedly harassed Tantaros again in his office, asking about her workout routine because her body "looked good" and mentioning that she must "really look good in a bikini."

On April 30, 2015, Tantaros filed a formal workplace harassment complaint about Ailes to Shine, Burstein says. The following day, Burstein says, Tantaros met with Shine to further discuss her harassment claims. Shine allegedly told her, "Roger is a very powerful man," and that she "should not fight this."

In August, her agent spoke with Brandi about the episode; according to the agent, Brandi said she would look into the matter but did not follow up.

After making more complaints to Shine and Scott over the course of the next year, Tantaros was suspended from the network in April 2016. "All of a sudden, the book became this big issue," Burstein says.

A few weeks before she was suspended, Tantaros hired Burstein, an aggressive litigator who has history battling Fox, to negotiate the dispute over her book. Burstein had negotiated a multi-million-dollar severance package in 2013 for Brian Lewis, Ailes's then-communications chief, who was fired by Ailes after he accused Lewis of being a source for the Ailes biography I was writing at the time.

Burstein says Tantaros, who is still employed by Fox, knows she is taking a risk in violating her contract's confidentiality clause. She's telling her story now, he says, because "she doesn't have the same fear of being attacked by the Fox PR machine, and the Murdochs have made it clear they want to clean up the place."

Fox did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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