×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Bill O’Reilly Calls Himself a ‘Target’ After Report Details History of Harassment Claims and Settlements at Fox News

Bill O’Reilly, Fox News or parent company 21st Century Fox issued five payouts to women totaling about $13 million in exchange for them to not pursue legal action against the conservative commentator and “O’Reilly Factor” host, according to a New York Times report published Saturday.

Two of the cases were reportedly settled after former Fox News chairman Roger Ailes exited the company in the wake of sexual harassment allegations. At the time, the company issued a statement saying, “There’s absolutely no room anywhere at our company for behavior that disrespects women or contributes to an uncomfortable work environment.”

The women, who either worked for O’Reilly or appeared on his show, accused him of “a wide range of behavior,” according to the report, including “verbal abuse, lewd comments, unwanted advances and phone calls in which it sounded as if Mr. O’Reilly was masturbating.” One of the cases involved a former Fox News staffer allegedly berated in front of colleagues by O’Reilly.

The Times report detailed alleged efforts to intimidate some of the women from leveling complaints against O’Reilly. Some told the Times they were concerned that coming forward against O’Reilly would harm their career prospects.

Fox News declined to comment beyond the statement from 21st Century Fox.

“21st Century Fox takes matters of workplace behavior very seriously. Notwithstanding the fact that no current or former Fox News employee ever took advantage of the 21st Century Fox hotline to raise a concern about Bill O’Reilly, even anonymously, we have looked into these matters over the last few months and discussed them with Mr. O’Reilly,” the company said. “While he denies the merits of these claims, Mr. O’Reilly has resolved those he regarded as his personal responsibility. Mr. O’Reilly is fully committed to supporting our efforts to improve the environment for all our employees at Fox News.”

O’Reilly called himself a “target for those who would harm me and my employer” in a statement issued on his website on Saturday.

“Just like other prominent and controversial people, I’m vulnerable to lawsuits from individuals who want me to pay them to avoid negative publicity,” he wrote. “Those of us in the arena are constantly at risk, as are our families and children. My primary efforts will continue to be to put forth an honest TV program and to protect those close to me.”

O’Reilly also wrote that in more than two decades at the company, “no one has ever filed a complaint” against him with Fox News’ human resources department.

Two of the five settlements mentioned in the New York Times expose had previously been reported. A $9 million settlement was reached in 2004 with produced Andrea Mackris, who sued the host for sexual harassment. The other was reached for $1.6 million with Juliet Huddy, who alleged that O’Reilly had pursued a sexual relationship with her in 2011. Of the three additional settlements covered in the new report, two alleged sexual harassment and one claimed she was verbally abused.

O’Reilly’s lawyer, Fredric S. Newman, told the New York Times on Friday: “We are now seriously considering legal action to defend Mr. O’Reilly’s reputation.”

More TV

  • Jussie Smollett

    Jussie Smollett's Legal Drama Eclipses the Rest of His Story (Column)

    Like so many other stories these days, the Jussie Smollett legal saga seemed governed not by coherent logic, but by chaos, and, in its absence of narrative, invites any observer to find in it the story they prefer hearing. Smollett, the “Empire” star who had been in legal jeopardy due to allegations of staging a [...]

  • Contract Placeholder Business WGA ATA Agent

    Writers Guild Plans for Agency Pact Expiration: 'There Will Be Difficult Moments'

    Leaders of the Writers Guild of America have sent members contingency plans for the possible expiration of its agency franchise agreement on April 7 — and admitted that it may be a rocky road. Members received the letter Tuesday from the guild’s negotiating committee as the WGA and agents were about the hold their seventh [...]

  • univision-dish blackout

    Univision, Dish Network Reach Carriage Deal After Nine-Month Blackout

    Univision and satcaster Dish Network have reached a carriage agreement after a nine-month blackout that marked one of the longest standoffs between a major programmer and distributor. Univision channels went dark on Dish Network’s satellite and streaming platforms on June 30. The sides were at odds over carriage fees that have become increasingly contentious for [...]

  • Brad Falchuk Sets Overall Deal at

    Brad Falchuk Sets Overall Deal at Netflix

    Brad Falchuk is joining Ryan Murphy at Netflix. Falchuk and his Brad Falchuk Teley-Vision banner have signed an overall deal with the streamer, which sources say is for four years and worth eight figures. He is currently set up under a deal at 20th Century Fox Television, with that deal set to expire on June [...]

  • A still from Cartoon Network’s “Victor

    Cartoon Network's 'Victor and Valentino' to Debut in U.S., Latin America on Saturday

    The folklore of Mesoamerica will come to life in Cartoon Network’s colorful new series “Victor and Valentino,” which premieres in the U.S. and Latin America on Saturday, March 30. The series follows the antics of the titular half-brothers as they learn to get along while unraveling the mysteries of the quirky little town of Monte [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content