Though he was booted from Fox News earlier this year when it was revealed that he’d had to pay millions of dollars in settlements to women he sexually harassed, it’s now clear that Fox was only too happy to sign Bill O’Reilly to another contract shortly after he had forked over $32 million to a co-worker who accused him of making unwanted advances.
A report in The New York Times reveals that just a month before O’Reilly signed a new contract extension with Fox News that would pay him $25 million annually for four years, he had reached a multi-million dollar settlement with Fox analyst Lis Wiehl whom he allegedly harassed. Fox was apparently aware of the settlement. As the Times notes:
“Although the deal has not been previously made public, the network’s parent company, 21st Century Fox, acknowledges that it was aware of the woman’s complaints about Mr. O’Reilly. They included allegations of repeated harassment, a nonconsensual sexual relationship and the sending of gay pornography and other sexually explicit material to her, according to the people briefed on the matter.”
Despite this latest reporting, O’Reilly remains defiant, telling the Times none of the allegations against him had any merit and were financially motivated. He also said he only settled so he could protect his children from negative publicity. O’Reilly also commented:
“It’s politically and financially motivated, and we can prove it with shocking information, but I’m not going to sit here in a courtroom for a year and a half and let my kids get beaten up every single day of their lives by tabloid press that would sit there and, you know it.”
The removal of O’Reilly came just months after several women came forward and accused Fox News CEO Roger Ailes of engaging in a pattern of sexual harassment during his time at the network. Ailes was let go by Fox chairman Rupert Murdoch and died in May of this year.
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