A U.S. District Court judge thwarted Andrea Tantaros’ efforts to conceal a not-so-favorable secret about her feminism book meant to empower women: it was heavily ghostwritten by a man.
New York federal judge Katherine Forrest made the decision to publicly disclose a case captioned as “[Under Seal] v. [Under Seal]” on Thursday, revealing that ex-Fox News personality had used author Michael Krechmer as her ghostwriter.
Krechmer is suing Tantaros for breaching an agreement over her book, “Tied Up in Knots: How Getting What We Wanted Made Women Miserable.” He filed the lawsuit in October 2016, but a confidentiality agreement kept the matter private.
After judge Forrest’s opinion and order were disclosed Thursday, the details of the arrangement came to light.
According to the judge’s disclosure, in May 2015, Krechmer and Tantaros entered into a collaboration agreement, which included a confidentiality provision. According to Krechmer, a couple months later the two agreed to terminate the original agreement.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Krechmer alleges that Tantaros did not want to formally negotiate the new deal. Instead, they then entered into an oral “Ghostwriting Agreement,” and Krechmer would receive $150,000. The Reporter writes:
“Tantaros allegedly did not want to negotiate a deal with Krechmer’s agent because she ‘feared’ it would ’cause her editor to discover that she was not writing the book herself’ and the book’s publisher, Harper Collins, ‘would cancel the book if they discovered that there were any negative issues in the writing process, particularly since she was already running more than two years behind schedule.’ “
Tantaros allegedly also worried about “professional repercussions and personal humiliation if her colleagues at Fox News discovered that the publication agreement with Harper Collins was cancelled.”
To date, Krechmer says he’s only received $30,000 for his work, and that Tantaros asked him to sign a non-disclosure agreement when he requested full payment. Krechmer feels he is no longer bound by the the confidentiality clause of the original agreement, and he feels he’s entitled to the copyright of the book, reportedly.
Tantaros moved for a preliminary injunction in the case, prohibiting Krechmer from violating the confidentiality provision. Judge Forrest disagreed with Tantaros’ argument.
“A possibility of future adverse impact on employment or the celebrity status of a party is not a ‘higher value’ sufficient to overcome the presumption of access to judicial documents,” Forrest wrote in her opinion. “The details of the working relationship and arrangement between the parties lie at the very heart of the litigation. If the public is to understand the nature of the dispute and the reasons for the court’s rulings, access to the judicial documents is essential.”
The judge said Tantaros failed to “demonstrate specific instances of particular harm,” therefore the rights of the public to access the details had “not been overcome.”
According to Fox, Tantaros’ book violated her contract, leading to her dismissal from the network. She later sued Fox News, in non-connected cases, for discrimination and harassment.
Konst posted a tweet that read, “Remember that time Bill O’Reilly kicked me off a weekly spot on his show after Andrea Tantaros physically attacked me & threatened me? I do!”
Charging defamation in the complaint, Tantaros also alleges that the offending tweet was ordered by Fox News’ public relations executive Irena Briganti in an effort to intimidate her.
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