Brown rejects sexual harassment allegations

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STATE HOUSE — Fox News analyst and former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown on Wednesday rejected the sexual harassment allegations made against him in a newly filed lawsuit against the cable network, calling the charges levied by a former television host “out of left field.”

“I’m a little PO’d that’s for sure,” Brown told Boston Herald Radio as he said he was getting ready to go on a bike ride with his wife of 30 years Gail Huff.

Former Fox News host Andrea Tantaros filed a lawsuit in New York on Monday against the network and several senior executives in which she described encounters with Brown on the set of Outnumbered and in the company’s cafeteria that she said were emblematic of a culture at the cable channel that tolerated sexual harassment.

Brown, a frequent contributor as a political commentator on the news network, allegedly told Tantaros on set that she “would be fun to go to a nightclub with” and later came up behind her in line for lunch and put his hands on her lower waist. He is not a defendant in the lawsuit, but said Wednesday that he “would love to” provide testimony under oath about the claims.

“I was flabbergasted when I read it,” Brown said, describing how there are no fewer than 25 people on set at any given time, including producers who never raised any concerns with him.

“They’re not shy. If I did something inappropriate or wrong, they would immediately fire me. I’m not that important when it comes to the whole hierarchy at Fox News,” Brown said.

Furthermore, Brown raised his own experiences with sexual abuse as a reason he would never engage in the type of behavior for which he is accused. Brown wrote in his autobiography that he had been abused by a summer camp counselor on Cape Cod as a 10-year-old.

“For somebody who’s a survivor of sexual abuse myself, I take these issues in particular very, very seriously, so I would’ve never helped perpetuate an environment or a conversation or a situation as she’s alleging because of my own personal experiences,” Brown said.

The former Wrentham Republican who moved to New Hampshire after his 2012 loss to Sen. Elizabeth Warren said he spoke to the president of Fox News on Tuesday who assured him the claims were “baseless” and that Tantaros had never asked that Brown no longer be booked for the show, as she claims in the suit.

Brown said, to the contrary, that he is now working more than ever for the news network and just signed a new contributor contract that included a raise. “I encourage people to pull the clips and actually watch the shows. You’ll say, ‘What? What are you talking about?’ That’s what I’m doing and there’s nothing there that I can see.”

He said he requested copies of video from the set on the day of his alleged activities and from surveillance cameras in the cafeteria to prepare in case he’s asked to give a witness statement, but suggested there was very little off-camera interaction between contributors and show hosts during his in-studio appearances in New York.

“There’s no intermingling. There’s no yucking it up, that sort of thing,” he said, later adding, “The last time I was in a club, a dance club, was 30 years ago.” He also said Tantaros had made comments on air towards him about his modeling days and his appearance when he posed naked for Cosmopolitan magazine while in college.

Huff, a former Boston newscaster, is also defending her husband, telling the Herald’s Inside Track, “It’s all a lie, it’s all a fabrication. It’s all an attempt to bolster a lawsuit that appears to be meritless.”

Brown and Huff recently renewed their wedding vows to mark their 30th anniversary and the couple has two daughters. Huff called Brown a “gentleman” who is “very sensitive to any sexually abusive language” because of his own past with sexual abuse.

Included in her claims for damages, Brown noted that Tantaros alleges that actions taken against her by Fox News interfered with her relationship with her book publisher Harper Collins and hurt book sales.

— Written by Matt Murphy

Copyright State House News Service