According to The New York Times, Fox News and Bill O’Reilly combined have paid over $13 million in settlements to five women who claim that “The O’Reilly Factor” host harassed them. The women have accused him of verbal abuse, lewd comments, unwanted advances and phone calls in which it sounded as if Mr. O’Reilly was masturbating. The payouts were in exchange for declining to pursue litigation or publicly speak about the accusations.
All of the settlements allege that O’Reilly used his position as an influential person in the newsroom to befriend women by offering them career advice and promising to help them in the professional world. He would then pressure the women into intimate settings, implying that his offer came with a catch.
Two of the five settlements were already widely known, but the other three had not been reported on previously. Two of those three are centered around sexual harassment claims against O’Reilly, and the other is for verbal abuse for a time when he yelled at a young producer in front of her colleagues. In addition, two other women have accused O’Reilly of sexual harassment, including former “Factor” guest Wendy Walsh and former Fox News host Andrea Tantaros.
“21st Century Fox takes matters of workplace behavior very seriously,” the company said in a statement. “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.”