×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Judge Denies Bill O’Reilly Effort to Keep Harassment Settlements Sealed in Lawsuit

Details of Bill O’Reilly’s harassment settlements with three woman have come to light now that a federal judge has denied O’Reilly’s request to keep the agreements sealed in connection with a defamation lawsuit filed by his accusers.

U.S. District Judge Deborah Batts of New York’s Southern District nixed O’Reilly’s effort to keep the settlements under seal and to force the defamation suit into private arbitration. In a ruling issued Tuesday, Batts concluded: “Defendant O’Reilly has failed to present compelling countervailing factors that could overcome the presumption of public access to the Agreements in question.”

Plaintiffs Rachel Wittlieb, Rebecca Diamond and Andrea Mackris claim that statements made during the past year by O’Reilly, Fox News parent 21st Century Fox and Fox boss Rupert Murdoch amount to defamation and a breach of the separate agreements that the three women reached with O’Reilly. The statements were made in connection with the public scrutiny O’Reilly’s history of sexual harassment settlements that began in April 2017 when the New York Times published an expose.

The three settlements were made available Wednesday as exhibits to the latest motion filed by the plaintiffs’ attorney, Neil Mullin.

The settlement documents reveal the extent to which O’Reilly and Fox demanded silence from the women in exchange for financial compensation. In the case of Mackris and Diamond, O’Reilly paid the settlements out of his own pocket. In Wittlieb’s case, Fox News kept her on its payroll, at $1364.95 a week, for 18 months after terminating her employment in July 2002.

The settlements required the three women to turn over to Fox and O’Reilly any potentially embarrassing material they had on the cabler’s former star host. Diamond’s settlement spells out the requirement that she turn over any “tapes, disks, recordings, notes, transcripts, emails, written materials, computer files or other documents or compilations of data in any form” to O’Reilly’s lawyers.

In Mackris’ case, the 2004 agreement goes so far as to compel her to deny the veracity of any O’Reilly-related materials should they somehow be made public. “Should any materials become public by any means … all parties will disclaim them as counterfeit or forgeries,” the settlement reads. Mackris’ settlement also bars her law firm, Morelli and Associates, from representing any other O’Reilly accusers. Diamond’s settlement from 2011 also prevents her from assisting those who might pursue “any other claims against O’Reilly.”

The three women maintain that the settlements were breached by a statement issued by 21st Century Fox in response to the Times’ story, in which Fox asserted that O’Reilly “denies the merits of these claims.” The complaint cites other statements from O’Reilly and remarks from Murdoch on Dec. 14, 2017, in an interview with Sky News about the sale of major 21st Century Fox assets to Disney.

The practice of requiring non-disclosure agreements as part of legal settlements has come under fire amid the wave of sexual harassment revelations during the past year. California and other states are considering legislation to restrict the use of such NDAs in cases related to sexual misconduct.

Financial details of Mackris’ settlement were not disclosed in the documents made available on Wednesday. In Diamond’s case, O’Reilly paid her $1.2 million at the outset, and $1.3 million in total to two of her attorneys. He was obligated to make three more payments of $250,000 to Diamond over a three-year period. Fox, meanwhile, paid out $4,534.34 to cover the cost of mediation efforts in the case.

More TV

  • Nancy Wilson

    Nancy Wilson, Grammy Winning Jazz Singer and TV Personality, Dies at 81

    Nancy Wilson, one of the most revered jazz singers of the 20th century, has died at age 81, her manager told the Associated Press. The singer passed away at her home in Pioneertown, a small California community north of Palm Springs, after a long illness, according to manager Devra Hall. Wilson’s three Grammy awards spanned [...]

  • Emmys 2019 Rule Change Defines TV

    New Emmys Rules Define Television Movie Length

    The Television Academy announced new rules for the 2019 Emmys Thursday night, including setting the minimum length for qualifying television movies at 75 minutes. The rules changes also included the addition of an Outstanding Music Composition for a Documentary Series or Special (Original Dramatic Underscore) award, and restructuring the choreography categories as follows: Outstanding Choreography [...]

  • SAG-AFTRA HQ

    SAG-AFTRA Commercial Negotiations Set for February

    With no fanfare, SAG-AFTRA and the ad industry have set a mid-February start for negotiations for a successor deal to the union’s master contract, Variety has learned. The current three-year deal — which covers about $1 billion in annual earnings — expires on March 31. SAG-AFTRA and the Joint Policy Committee of the ad industry [...]

  • FILE - In this April 5,

    Eliza Dushku Received $9.5 Million Settlement Over Misconduct on 'Bull' Set

    Eliza Dushku received a $9.5 million settlement from CBS after the actress alleged she was the subject of several inappropriate comments on the set of “Bull,” according to the New York Times. Dushku appeared in the first season of the procedural, initially being brought on for a three-episode arc with plans to make her a [...]

  • Jingle Punks Jingle Player

    Jingle Punks at 10: How the Production Music Platform's Player Works

    Though its primary function is creative, Jingle Punks is built on a foundation of technology and administration. The patented Jingle Player that lets customers search for music using pop culture terms is both intuitive and efficient. Typing in “Reservoir Dogs” or “Starbucks” generates suggestions. Queries are monitored “so if there isn’t an exact match, we’ll suggest [...]

  • Star Trek: Discovery

    TV Roundup: 'Star Trek: Discovery' Season 2 Premiere Date Set at CBS All Access

    In today’s TV News Roundup, the premiere date is announced for season two of “Star Trek: Discovery” on CBS All Access. FIRST LOOKS “Relics and Rarities,” a new RPG series based on the classic game Dungeons & Dragons, will premiere on subscription service Alpha in February 2019. Hosted by Deborah Ann Woll (“Daredevil,” “True Blood”) [...]

  • Logan Lerman

    Logan Lerman in Talks to Star in Jordan Peele's 'The Hunt' at Amazon

    Jordan Peele’s upcoming Nazi hunter drama at Amazon, “The Hunt,” has potentially found its lead. Logan Lerman is in talks to star in the drama series as Jonah Heidelbaum. When his grandmother is slain by a mysterious intruder in their apartment, Jonah sets out to track the culprit, only to find himself swept up in the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content