Last year, Fox News head Roger Ailes was ousted from the network after multiple women accused him of sexual harassment.
Now, Fox News may be the target of a federal investigation, stemming from settlements of the sexual harassment claims. According to the Hollywood Reporter, government officials are launching a probe into the corporation for settling claims against Ailes without informing the company’s shareholders, in violation of rules set by the US Securities and Exchange Commission.
The Reporter says that former Fox host Andrea Tantaros’ lawyer got a subpoena from federal prosecutors—the Department of Justice’s New York Southern District, headed by U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara.
“Once I saw it, I knew what was happening,” Tantaros’ attorney, Judd Burstein, told the Reporter. “They were investigating whether Fox News violated securities laws by not reporting settlements to the Securities and Exchange Commission.”
According to Tantaros’ lawsuit, Fox News “operated like a sex-fueled, Playboy Mansion-like cult.”
UPDATE — Wednesday, Feb. 15:
In a statement Wednesday, a Fox News spokesperson said the company has not received a subpoena, adding they will “continue to cooperate on all inquiries with any interested authorities.”
“The court granted FOX News’ motion to send Andrea Tantaros’ case to arbitration, where it always belonged, and rejected her counsel Judd Burstein’s histrionics,” a Fox News spokesperson said in a statement. “Apparently one of Mr. Burstein’s other clients has received a subpoena.”
“Neither FOX News nor 21CF has received a subpoena, but we have been in communication with the U.S. Attorney’s office for months,” the statement continued. “We have and will continue to cooperate on all inquiries with any interested authorities.”