O’Reilly responds to report of $32 million settlement


Saturday a new report was released by the New York Times, alleging that former Fox News anchor Bill O’Reilly had paid a $32 million settlement in response to additional sexual harassment allegations launched against him by Fox analyst Lis Wiehl.

The settlement was reportedly paid in January, just one month prior to Fox renewing his contract in February.

O’Reilly’s spokesman, Mark Fabiani, released the following statement in response to the New York Times report:

Once again, The New York Times has maliciously smeared Bill O’Reilly, this time even failing to print a sworn affidavit from his former lawyer, Lis Wiehl, repudiating all allegations against Bill O’Reilly. The Times ignored that evidence, sworn under oath, and chose to rely on unsubstantiated allegations, anonymous sources and incomplete leaked or stolen documents. 

Here are the facts: after the Chairman of Fox News Roger Ailes was fired in July 2016, dozens of women accused scores of male employees of Fox News of harassment – including the current co-president of Fox News Jack Abernathy.

21st Century Fox settled almost all these cases, paying out close to $100 million dollars. Six months after Mr. Ailes left the company, Fox News Corporation signed Bill O’Reilly to a record breaking new contract after the company had analyzed and considered all allegations against him.

In its first article about Mr. O’Reilly on April 1st, The New York Times printed inaccurate settlement figures while fully understanding that O’Reilly and his counsel are legally bound by confidentiality and cannot set the record straight.

In its latest diatribe against Bill O’Reilly, 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.

Finally, in the more than 20 years Bill O’Reilly worked at Fox News, not one complaint was filed against him with the Human Resources Department or Legal Department by a coworker, even on the anonymous hotline. The New York Times has copies of two letters written by 21st Century Fox lawyers attesting to that fact.

The Times failed to print them, too. 

Click here to read the sworn affidavit of Lis Wiehl. 

O’Reilly made the following statement in response to the NY Times report:

“It’s politically and financially motivated,” he said, adding “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 a tabloid press that would sit there, and you know it.”

A statement released by 21st Century Fox said the $32 million settlement between O’Reilly and Wiehl was a result of a “personal issue.”

Fox also said when they renewed O’Reilly’s contract in February, new terms were added which permitted his ouster if any additional revelations came to the surface. He was fired in April after details of additional settlements totaling $13 million to five other women were made public.

“When the company renewed Bill O’Reilly’s contract in February, it knew that a sexual harassment lawsuit had been threatened against him by Lis Wiehl, but was informed by Mr. O’Reilly that he had settled the matter personally, on financial terms that he and Ms. Wiehl had agreed were confidential and not disclosed to the company,” 21st Century Fox said in a statement. “His new contract, which was made at a time typical for renewals of multi-year talent contracts, added protections for the company specifically aimed at harassment, including that O’Reilly could be dismissed if the company was made aware of other allegations or if additional relevant information was obtained in a company investigation. The company subsequently acted based on the terms of this contract.”

As a Fox News contributor, Wiehl had made multiple appearances on O’Reilly’s TV and radio shows from 2001 until January, when the settlement was reached. She had also provided legal advice to him on occasion.

Michael Schmidt, one of the authors of the NY Times article, has already responded to O’Reilly’s statement, commenting on Twitter: “@BillOReilly’s statement falsely says our story didn’t mention affidavit Lise Wiehl signed. Here are both references cc:@markfabiani.”

Schmidt attached a photo of the article with two paragraphs circled where they did make mention of the affidavit.

O’Reilly has responded to the report with the following statements on Twitter:

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