A new report by the New York Times claims that former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly reached a $32 million agreement with former Fox News analyst Lis Wiehl to settle several sexual harassment allegations, then signed a blockbuster four-year, $100 million deal with the network a month later.
The Times also reported that the network was fully aware of O’Reilly’s deal with Wiehl before he signed his contract.
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.
At first, Fox News intended on standing behind their star host, but when the New York Times later revealed five other sexual harassment settlements, the weight of scandal simply became too much to retain him.
21st Century Fox described the settlement between O’Reilly and Wiehl as a “personal issue between the two of them.” According to the Times, O’Reilly claims he was sending Wiehl graphic material because she was a part of the network legal team.
In response to questions about why he sent sexually explicit material to Ms. Wiehl, Mr. O’Reilly said that during his time at the network, he had been sent threatening messages almost every day, including some that had obscene material. To deal with this problem, Mr. O’Reilly said, he set up a system in which the material would be forwarded to his lawyers so they could evaluate whether he needed to take any legal action. Mr. O’Reilly said Ms. Wiehl was among those lawyers.
The former Fox News star was quick to respond to the latest report via Twitter and his own webpage:
— Bill O'Reilly (@BillOReilly) October 21, 2017
In the statement, O’Reilly’s attorney claims that the Times “printed leaked information provided by anonymous sources that is out of context, false, defamatory, and obviously designed to embarrass Bill O’Reilly and to keep him from competing in the marketplace.”
Maybe so and maybe not, but just like an innocent person who for whatever reason confesses to a crime, it’s hard to get around the optics. Former Fox News host Gretchen Carlson, who herself settled with 21st Century Fox for $20 million in the Roger Ailes sexual harassment scandal, put it this way:
Nobody pays $32m for false allegations – nobody https://t.co/qB3njcHHuy
— Gretchen Carlson (@GretchenCarlson) October 21, 2017
So naturally, Weinstein-tired liberals were quick to pounce on these newest revelations as an example of Fox News, and by extension conservative, hypocrisy.
Let's pause to reflect on both the chairman of @FoxNews and its biggest star, Bill O'Reilly, being alleged serial sexual predators.
— Joy-Ann Pro-Democracy & Masks Reid 😷 (@JoyAnnReid) October 21, 2017
— Don Lemon (@donlemon) October 21, 2017
Month after Bill O'Reilly settled for $32 million, Fox gave him $25 Million 4-year contract. Oh, and Fox is OUTRAGED about Harvey Weinstein! pic.twitter.com/kE2FDRMOJC
— Mrs. Betty Bowers (@BettyBowers) October 21, 2017
But others were quick to lend some much-needed perspective.
The Russians funneled $145 million into Bill O’Reilly’s “Foundation”
Then he gave them control of 20% of our Uranium.
Oh, that was Hillary
The media is reporting AGAIN on Bill O'Reilly instead of reporting on the Russian Uranium scandal?
They are trying to distract again!
— RD (@real_defender) October 21, 2017
Not to defend O’Reilly if he is guilty, but could the focus on this be a classic case of being told not to pay attention to the man behind the curtain?
And O’Reilly’s not about to go away anytime soon, so stay tuned!
My investigative team has done a superb job in exposing the lies and smear. I will speak with you on Monday.
— Bill O'Reilly (@BillOReilly) October 21, 2017
Op-ed views and opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of BizPac Review.
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