Fox News' Bill O'Reilly says he is vulnerable to lawsuits
- Author: Salvatore Jensen Apr 04, 2017,
Apr 04, 2017, 8:36
The top-rated cable news host had segments on Democrats opposing Donald Trump and a story with contributor Jesse Watters visiting Columbia University to ask if Fox News Channel was welcome there. His downfall was set in motion by a lawsuit filed by former Fox host Gretchen Carlson, who eventually settled her claims for $20 million.
O'Reilly did not deny the allegations, but said his prominence made him "vulnerable to lawsuits from individuals who want me to pay them to avoid negative publicity". Another person familiar with the matter said 21st Century Fox only learned of that settlement late a year ago as it was investigating what had occurred at Fox News under Ailes' time as CEO. "And a former Fox News host named Andrea Tantaros said Mr. O'Reilly sexually harassed her in a lawsuit she filed last summer against the network and Mr. Ailes".
21st Century Fox is standing by top Fox News anchor Bill O'Reilly amid new revelations of financial settlements reportedly paid to women who complained about his behavior.
But Fox's new human resources chief sent a memo to staff late Monday, saying that "in light of some of the accounts published over the last few days", he wanted to make clear the various avenues network employees could take if they had concerns about behavior in the workplace.
The New York Times reported previously on two sexual harassment lawsuits against O'Reilly.
Lisa Bloom represents Wendy Walsh, a regular guest on Fox's "The O'Reilly Factor", whose appearances dried up after she refused to go to O'Reilly's bedroom following a 2013 dinner in Los Angeles. The company is now under investigation by the office of the United States attorney in the Southern District of NY.
Other women spoke to the New York Times about O'Reilly's behavior.
"I feel bad that some of these old guys are using mating strategies that were acceptable in the 1950s and are not acceptable now", she told the newspaper. "Nobody can buy my voice". Of these women, two of these cases involve claims of sexual harassment on O'Reilly's part.
Roginsky is suing Fox News, Ailes, and Fox co-president Bill Shine over sexual harassment claims. Mr. Ailes vociferously denies her allegations. Fox News and Shine further retaliated against Plaintiff by refusing to give her the promised permanent hosting position for which she was well-qualified.
21st Century Fox, which is still dealing with the legal fallout from sexual harassment charges against former Fox News head Roger Ailes, did not reply to questions about the O'Reilly payouts.
Nancy Erika Smith, who is representing Roginsky, said in a statement: 'We look forward to a public trial in front of a jury in New York City'.
The New York Times reported Saturday that five women over a period of more than a decade received payouts from either O'Reilly, Fox News or parent company 21st Century Fox "in exchange for agreeing to not pursue litigation or speak about their accusations against him". The women claimed O'Reilly, 67, verbally abused them and made unwanted advances.
In a complaint filed in NY state Supreme Court on Monday, Roginsky said she was pressured to join "Team Roger" to defend Ailes when Gretchen Carlson filed the initial harassment complaint against him but that she refused.