Two more accusers have joined a defamation suit against Fox News and Bill O’Reilly, alleging that he violated their confidentiality agreements and disparaged their motives.
Like Bernstein, both Mackris and Diamond were cited in an April 1 report in the New York Times as having obtained settlements for alleged workplace misconduct. Mackris filed a detailed sexual harassment suit against O’Reilly in 2004, and received approximately $9 million, according to the Times. The story alleged that at least five women had received $13 million in settlements.
O’Reilly, who was fired in response to the story, denied that anyone had complained to Fox’s human resources department. He later claimed that the allegations against him were politically and financially motivated. Fox News also stated in the April 1 story that no one had made use of the company’s harassment hotline.
In their suit, Mackris and Diamond say they both complained about sexual harassment to Fox News’ VP of legal, Dianne Brandi, in accordance with the company’s internal policy manual.
“Of course they complained,” the suit states. “Plaintiffs did complain internally to Fox News in a timely manner. They all settled their complaints.”
Since he was fired, O’Reilly has continued to defend himself publicly. The lawsuit takes issue with O’Reilly’s public claim that “no one was mistreated on my watch,” alleging that the statement defames the three former Fox employees.
Fox News did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
O’Reilly’s lawyer, Fredric Newman, said he will litigate the case “fully and aggressively.” The full statement:
“The latest filing has absolutely no merit as we will show in court. Adding more plaintiffs does not cure the deficiencies in Bernstein’s complaint. The plaintiffs have drawn more attention to themselves than Mr. O’Reilly ever did. For example, Andrea Mackris invited a New York Times photographer into her home for the April 1st story, even though she had publicly declared that ‘there was no wrongdoing whatsoever by Mr. O’Reilly.’ Mr. O’Reilly never mentioned any of the plaintiffs, but now he has no choice but to litigate fully and aggressively.”