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Bill O’Reilly paid $32M to silence sexual harassment accusers


Bill O’Reilly paid $32M to silence sexual harassment accusers


According to a recent report from The New York Times, Bill O’Reilly, the former Fox News commentator, agreed to a $32 million sexual harassment settlement in January before signing a new contract with the network the following month.

The settlement, which was “extraordinarily large” for such cases, involved Lis Wiehl, a former Fox News legal analyst.

The parent company, 21st Century Fox, was aware of the settlement at the time of signing the new contract with O’Reilly.

In a statement released by the company, they acknowledged their knowledge of the settlement and said they “were 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”.

When asked for comment, neither O’Reilly nor Wiehl could be reached.


The New York Times reported that Rupert Murdoch and his two sons, Lachlan and James, as top executives of 21st Century Fox, decided to retain O’Reilly despite being made aware of the fresh complaints.

The next month, the company signed a contract extension with O’Reilly worth $25 million a year.

These disclosures follow recent allegations of sexual harassment and assault against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein.

This has led to a wave of anger and soul-searching on the issue and millions of women have shared their experiences using the hashtag #MeToo on social media platforms.

21st Century Fox said that they added language to O’Reilly’s new contract regarding harassment, stipulating that he could face termination if fresh allegations emerged or new information about existing allegations came to light.

In April, after advertisers began to pull out of O’Reilly’s show, the company ended the commentator’s two-decade Fox News career.

In their statement, 21st Century Fox said that they acted in April “based on the terms of this contract” and said they have taken steps to “transform Fox News”, including installing new leadership, overhauling management and on-air talent, expanding training, and increasing the channels through which employees can report harassment or discrimination.

The O’Reilly Factor was the top-rated show on Fox News, bringing in $147.13 million in advertising revenue in 2016 according to ad-tracking firm Kantar Media.

O’Reilly’s exit from Fox News followed the departure of former Fox News chairman Roger Ailes, who was accused of sexual misconduct by multiple women.

In April of this year, The New York Times reported that Fox News or O’Reilly had paid five women a total of $13 million to settle harassment claims before news of the sixth deal emerged.

The women either worked for O’Reilly or appeared as guests on his show.

O’Reilly stated at the time that he had settled the matter to spare his children from the controversy.

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