5 women have accused Bill O’Reilly and Fox News of paying them off $13 million to keep quiet about the sexual harassment and verbal abuse they received from O’Reilly on numerous occasions.
According to dailymail.com, Rachel Witlieb Bernstein, Andrea Mackris, Rebecca Gomez Diamond, Laurie Dhue and Juliet Huddy, all of whom worked with O’Reilly or appeared on his show, agreed not to snitch and file any lawsuits against the network or O’Reilly for a ‘not so small’ fee.
However, in the New York Times report revealed that the women complained about unwanted advances, invitations to hotel suites, lewd comments and/or verbal abuse.
In one incident, Mackris, who worked as a producer on his show, said O’Reilly called her while he was masturbating, told her to buy a vibrator, and described his sexual fantasies with her, according to a 2004 lawsuit.
She settled for $9 million and gave a public statement which asserted there was ‘no wrongdoing whatsoever’.
When all of O’Reilly’s dirty laundry was released to the public Saturday, O’Reilly released a statement claiming his job made him ‘vulnerable to lawsuits’, and said he settled for the sake of his children.
His statement read: ‘In my more than 20 years at Fox News Channel, no one has ever filed a complaint about me with the Human Resources Department, even on the anonymous hotline.
‘But most importantly, I’m a father who cares deeply for my children and who would do anything to avoid hurting them in any way. And so I have put to rest any controversies to spare my children.
‘The worst part of my job is being a target for those who would harm me and my employer, the Fox News Channel.
‘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. ‘
The network quietly paid Dhue (left and right) more than $1million in 2016 after the anchor claimed she was sexually harassed by both O’Reilly and Ailes
According to dailymail.com, The first settlement was reached in 2002, after O’Reilly screamed at producer Rachel Witlieb Bernstein, according to witnesses and other employees.
Berstein soon left the company with an undisclosed sum, although those familiar with the deal said it was significantly smaller than the four settlements that followed over the course of the next 15 years.
While investigating Ailes in 2016, 21 century fox learned of another settlement O’Reilly made in 2011.
Rebecca Gomez Diamond, a host on the Fox Business Network, revealed her own recorded conversations with O’Reilly after the network told her they would not be renewing her contract. She also settled with O’Reilly for an undisclosed sum.
The network also struck deals with Laurie Dhue and Juliet Huddy in 2016 for more than $1 million each after former Fox host, Gretchen Carlson, filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against Ailes.
The lawsuit prompted several other women to come forward with allegations against Ailes, who eventually resigned with a reported $60million golden parachute.
An internal investigation was launched, and the network quietly paid Dhue more than $1 million after the anchor claimed she was sexually harassed by both O’Reilly and Ailes, the Times reported.
Huddy, an anchor who often appeared on O’Reilly’s show, received a $1.6 million settlement.
Huddy’s lawyers said O’Reilly pursued a sexual relationship with her in 2011, and tried to limit her career prospects when she rejected him.
She complained about inappropriate phone calls, and once fell to the ground while she was pulled away from an unwanted kiss, her attorneys said.
In addition to the five women, Andrea Tantaros (left), a former Fox News host, and Wendy Walsh (right), a regular on his show, also accused O’Reilly of inappropriate behavior
Fox News’ parent company 21st Century Fox backed him in their own statement.
It read: ‘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.
‘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.’