×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Judge Throws Out Bill O’Reilly Accuser’s Defamation Suit

A federal judge on Tuesday dismissed a defamation lawsuit from a former Fox News producer whose allegations contributed to Bill O’Reilly’s ouster in 2017.

Rachel Witlieb Bernstein left the network in 2002, following an incident in which O’Reilly allegedly screamed at her. Bernstein received a confidential settlement, and her case was among several that were covered in a New York Times article in April 2017, which led to O’Reilly’s firing.

Following his ouster, O’Reilly gave interviews in which he said he had been the target of a “political and financial hit job.” Bernstein filed a defamation suit in December 2017, in which she accused O’Reilly and the network of disparaging her. She accused the network of issuing a misleading statement, in which it claimed that no employees had taken advantage of an HR hotline without stating that the hotline was not in place at the time of her employment.

In her ruling on Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Deborah Batts held that Bernstein had failed to establish that she suffered any actual harm from O’Relly or Fox’s comments.

“She neither explains how her losses flowed from the alleged defamation nor alleges any facts establishing what, if any, emotional and physical harms and reputational damage she specifically suffered,” Batts wrote. “She also does not allege the economic or pecuniary value of her alleged damages.”

Bernstein’s attorneys had also taken issue with statements made by Rupert Murdoch, in which the Fox News chairman said the harassment charges against the network were “nonsense,” and that accusers had come forward due to political motivations.

Batts held that Bernstein could not demonstrate that Murdoch was talking about her.

“Clearly, each statement that Plaintiff attributes to the Fox Defendants cannot plausibly be defamatory,” Batts wrote.

Bernstein had also accused O’Reilly and the network of breaching the confidentiality agreement in her settlement. Again, Batts held that Bernstein had not shown she was harmed by the alleged breach.

The judge allowed Bernstein to amend and refile her suit against O’Reilly, but not against Fox, finding that that would be “futile.”

More Biz

  • Imax logo

    Imax China Hires Edwin Tan as CEO

    Former conferences and exhibitions executive Edwin Tan has been appointed CEO of Imax China. He replaces Jiande Chen, who now becomes vice chairman of the company, having headed the company since its inception in 2011. Tan was previously CEO of the China business of leading events firm Messe Muenchen. Before that he held roles at [...]

  • Visitors passe by a Alibaba Group

    Alibaba Readies $15 Billion Share Sale in Hong Kong

    Chinese e-commerce and entertainment giant Alibaba may raise up to $15 billion through a secondary listing of its shares in Hong Kong. The move would be the largest share offering this year and comes despite the ongoing civil strife in the Asian financial capital. Alibaba’s shares have been traded in American Depositary Receipt form on [...]

  • Harvey Weinstein, center, leaves a courtroom

    Weinstein Trial Expected to Take Up to Two Months

    Jurors in the upcoming trial of Harvey Weinstein will be told that the case will last up to two months, according to a recent court filing. Weinstein is set to go on trial on Jan. 6 in New York Supreme Court in Manhattan. According to a court filing, the jury pool will be told to [...]

  • supreme court byron allen comcast

    Emotions Run High as Supreme Court Hears Byron Allen vs. Comcast Arguments

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — Sharon Fletcher traveled from Bethlehem, Pa., in the hopes of attending Wednesday’s Supreme Court hearing in the civil rights lawsuit filed by entrepreneur Byron Allen against cable giant Comcast. Fletcher was one of several hundred people who waited in line for a seat in the courtroom. She was there before 8 a.m. [...]

  • Alan Horn

    Disney Studios Chief Alan Horn on Scorsese v. Marvel, Challenges in a Changing Business

    It has been more than a month since Martin Scorsese compared Marvel movies to theme park rides and questioned their cinematic credentials, but the conversation started by his comments continues. Walt Disney Studios co-chairman and chief creative officer Alan Horn, who considers Scorsese a friend after working with him on “The Departed,” weighed in on [...]

  • Bon Appetit at the Chase Center

    Golden State Warriors' New Stadium Boasts the Best in the Bay Area Food Scene

    Don’t expect to dine on pedestrian stadium-style eats at San Francisco’s new $1.6 billion Chase Center, built on 10-plus acres in Mission Bay. Home court for the Golden State Warriors, the arena seats 18,500 and has 37 outlets to serve patrons freshly cooked and seasonal items along with craft brews, intricate cocktails and California wines. [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content