Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly Faces New Off-Screen Controversy

Bill O'Reilly
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Fox News Channel may have to put together its own Talking Points Memo on Bill O’Reilly.

For some viewers, the veteran anchor is Fox News. He has been part of its primetime lineup since the network launched in 1996 and the millions of fans he gathers each evening at 8 p.m. often stick around for the rest of the cable-news outlet’s evening offerings.

Yet viewers tuning in to his next “The O’Reilly Factor” broadcast may listen to hear whether he addresses a new controversy that erupted Tuesday. Fox News last year settled claims that O’Reilly sexually harassed Juliet Huddy, a Fox News on-air correspondent, and the company did so shortly after the network’s chairman, Roger Ailes, was removed from his post as he faced similar allegations, according to reports by LawNews and the New York Times. ““Juliet Huddy’s letter of intent to sue contained substantial falsehoods which were vehemently denied by Bill O’Reilly,” Fox News said in a statement.

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Fox News Reportedly Settled Sexual Harassment Claims Against Bill O’Reilly

The gossipy episode is the latest dispute to involve O’Reilly, who is never shy about speaking his mind and has over the years never hesitated to defend himself against an array of opponents. The latest conflagration comes to light while O’Reilly is in the last year of his current contract and hinted in an interview last summer that he could consider stepping down from his show. “I don’t want to work this hard much longer,” O’Reilly told Adweek in July.

Fredric S. Newman, an attorney who represents O’Reilly, could not be reached for immediate comment. A spokesman for 21st Century Fox referred an inquiry to Fox News.

The cable-news network has been trying to move forward under new management after Ailes was ousted last summer in the wake of sexual-harassment allegations levied at him by former anchor Gretchen Carlson. Ailes has denied the charges. Fox News has continued to win more viewers than its main competitors, CNN and MSNBC, and has proven better at retaining eyeballs as the frenzy around the recent presidential election begins to settle.

At the time of Ailes’ ouster, Lachlan and James Murdoch, the executive chairman and CEO, respectively, of 21st Century Fox, said the company intended to “continue our commitment to maintaining a work environment based on trust and respect.” The executives also said: “We take seriously our responsibility to uphold these traditional, long-standing values of our company.” A few other settlements were made after Ailes’ departure related to sexual-harassment claims, according to people familiar with the matter.

It is hard to envision a Fox News without O’Reilly’s program. Once known as “The O’Reilly Report,” his program attracted an average of nearly 3.3 million viewers in 2016, according to data from Nielsen — making it the most-watched program on cable news. It’s a distinction the program has held for some time, and a boost from O’Reilly has built other careers on the network. Megyn Kelly was a force in her own right, to be sure, and her willingness to push back on conservative politicians helped her stand apart from the pack. But she also benefited from O’Reilly’s weeknight lead-ins. Jesse Watters, a “Factor” regular who draws attention with man-on-the-street interviews, was recently granted a new hour-long berth on Fox News’ Saturday-night lineup.

At the same time, O’Reilly has been involved with a handful of off-air controversies in recent months.

During a November appearance on “CBS This Morning,” he suggested Kelly’s new memoir, “Settle for More,” made Fox News look bad because it tackled the subject of the sexual-harassment claims against Ailes. In 2015, O’Reilly became embroiled in accusations by Mother Jones magazine that he had made false claims about time he spent covering the Falklands War in 1982. O’Reilly denied the accusations, going so far as to tell a New York Times reporter, Emily Steel, that he would go after her “with everything I have” if he felt her coverage was inappropriate. “You can take it as a threat,” he added.

He has been enmeshed in sexual-harassment accusations in the past. In 2004, O’Reilly settled a sexual-harassment lawsuit filed by a former producer on his show, Andrea Mackris, alleging he had made explicit phone calls to her. O’Reilly filed a lawsuit against the employee alleging she was trying to extort millions of dollars in so-called “hush money” to stop the case. The two parties eventually reached a settlement believed to be worth millions of dollars. “This brutal ordeal is now officially over, and I will never speak of it again,” O’Reilly told his viewers.

Rupert Murdoch, the executive chairman of Fox News and also of its parent company, has indicated he wants O’Reilly to remain where he is. “We’re going to want Bill to stay with us,” he told the Wall Street Journal in October.

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  1. harry georgatos says:

    The Fox news team belong in Stanley Kubricks mansion from EYES WIDE SHUT!!

  2. jmengele says:

    i knew it would only be a short period of time before right wingers’ constant SPIN talkers would come to Bill O’reilly’s defense. Bringing up Anthony Weiner is laughable because the Faux News is on tv ALL DAY LONG SPEWING THEIR RACIAL HATRED & MEANNESS while Weiner, with FAR LESS POWER, was brought down a long, long time ago. The perverts at Fox are sick bastards who abuse their women while making it clear with every allegation against each of them that not one of them is as well hung as Weiner. Jealous Much??????????

  3. greg marotta says:

    It would be wise to investigate what role 5′ 6″” Fox tough guy Bo Dietl had in this as well as in O’Reilly’s settlement with his “loofah girl.”

  4. Don White says:

    Damn they miss the good old days when they could get by with molesting woman, beating their wives, keeping blacks in their place and gays in the closet. Thanks to the elections they may get their good old days back thanks to fake fox news. It’s a shame they could not be as classy, respectful and have high morals like the beautiful first family on their way out.

  5. this is complete baloney… there is nothing ‘NEW’ here… and actually really no controversy at all…

  6. Jennifer Richow says:

    In addition to rewriting history to glorify white people, to openly lie while claiming ‘fair and balanced’ reporting and to spew racist nonsense while maintaining the stern resolve of Josef Goebbels, we learn that Bully O’Reilly is a predator who settled his sexual harassment case just as Trump did with the lawsuits filed against Trump University.

    Now, normally conservatives would vilify anyone who ‘settles’ a lawsuit as guilty, but these two macadamia nuts are from the same rotten, right wing tree … although Trump only ‘became conservative’ for the sake of convenience and exploitation of gullible Republicans.

  7. DC says:

    Billo has settled multiple sexual harassment lawsuits (aka paid lots of money for them to go away because his actions were indefensible) and lost custody of his own child for physically and mentally abusing the child’s mother. Just another sexual predator who spends lots of time on television.

  8. Kwane Yarnell says:

    NO SURPRISE WHATSOEVER!
    O’Reilly joined the Republican Pervert Party years ago!

    Face it, the man specializes in ‘revisionist history BS’ for sanctimoniously outraged, ultra-right-wing Caucasians who project their sins on any convenient non-white or non-conservative scapegoat and O’Reilly has done so for a decade or two. He never had any integrity just as Fox News has never been ‘fair and balanced.’

    And the irony is this worthless piece of pallid flesh constantly maligned anyone who had the chutzpah to fight his bigoted blather … yet he came out smelling like a white rose for his bleating, breathless constituency.

    • Inspector clouseau says:

      Pervert party? You’re referring to the DNC. How’s your boy Anthony Wiener doing? Slick Willy is giving him pointers on the intricacies of being a degenerate I’m sure. Fair and balanced? Yep just like CNN,MSNBC and the other unbiased MSM. LMAO

      • Cheech Chi says:

        DC, that’s a false equivalency. DNC is no where near as bad as RNC. You’ll find bad apples in both groups, but at least the DNC doesn’t try to vilify people for doing the things they themselves do in the closet, in other words, they are not hypocrites.

      • Jennifer Richow says:

        Sorry, but Kwane nailed Billy Boobies to the wall, Monsieur Jacques Enabler.

        Aren’t you right wingers supporting a clueless, orange clown who was CAUGHT ON TAPE bragging about his sexual perversion. And Republicans, while claiming the party of ‘family values,’ are raging womanizers … or closeted homosexuals like Republican Craig.

        The Donald has cheated on every one of his wives except the Russian go-go girl, but give the pervert time.

        By the way, no one under fifty uses ‘LOL’ or ‘LMAO’ now.
        It was ‘played out’ a decade ago. And “Slick Willy” should stay in the 90’s with “Milli Vanilli.”

        Sheesh.

      • DC says:

        BOTH Republicans and Democrats are populated with perverse sexual predators. ALL corporate news sources are biased and lie constantly to their viewers and readers. Trying to say one party is any better or worse than the other is like trying to say that one sh*t sandwich tastes better than another sh*t sandwich. Both are disgusting.

  9. Dunstan says:

    A complete slug made worse by his holier than thou attitude. Clearly, like Drumpf, this man has serious issues and needs to be gone.

    • Jennifer Richow says:

      Well, I agree with you completely, but Republicans INSIST on opting for raging hypocrisy with monikers like ‘The Moral Majority”, the party of American values, the party of family values and the especially hilarious offer to ‘make America great again’ when their real meaning is ‘make America white again.’

      For god’s sake, roll up your sleeves and make America for everyone,

      Otherwise, in a decade or so when white Americans are the minority, THEY are going to be treated as they have treated other minorities.

    • Inspector clouseau says:

      Serious issues like Hillary and Bill?? Maybe podesta and the rest of the degenerates in the Dem party??

      • The Truth says:

        Clouseau, you’ve been smoking your mustache again. Instead of trotting out tired trash talk about Hillary and Bill in a pathetic attempt at deflection, why don’t you address the blatant degeneracy of O’Reilly and Trump? Neither Clinton is going to be President, nor are either of them the most popular jackass hypocrite for America’s premier fake news network/home base for sexual predators. You can’t deal with Trump and O’Reilly issues head on because there’s no viable defense for them. That’s why they’re continually paying millions to settle law suits.

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