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Fox Renewed O'Reilly Contract Despite $32 Million Harassment Settlement
25 October 2017, 12:11 | Mandy Simon
O'Reilly, of course, was removed from his perch as the king of Fox's primetime lineup in April after The New York Times's Emily Steel and Michael S. Schmidt reported on five previous settlements with women who had accused the host of sexual harassment. The paper reports Wiehl's attorneys sent a draft of a lawsuit to O'Reilly on January 2, and the parties reached a settlement a few days later.
Despite the settlement, and others the New York Times reported in April totaled $13 million to five women over the last 15 years, 21st Century Fox extended O'Reilly's contract in February, according to the report. They agreed that all communications between her and O'Reilly would be destroyed, and she signed an affidavit saying she had "no claims against Bill O'Reilly concerning any of those emails or any of the allegations in the draft complaint", according to the Times. O'Reilly denied doing anything improper in an interview with the Times.
In February, aware of Wiehl's claims and the settlement, 21st Century Fox offered O'Reilly a new four-year contract at $25 million a year, up from about $18 million.
"This is crap, and you know it", O'Reilly told the Times, when asked about the settlement.
Lis Wiehl claimed O'Reilly would message her sexually explicit material including gay pornography - and was pushed into a sexual relationship with him, the Times reported.
Mr. O'Reilly learned on January 2 that Ms. Wiehl meant to sue him for sexual harassment, according to The New York Times report. "The Times ignored that evidence, sworn under oath, and chose to rely on unsubstantiated allegations, anonymous sources and incomplete leaked or stolen documents".
The Times characterized the sum to Wiehl as "extraordinarily large". The TImes added that O'Reilly was due for a custody hearing with his son later in January, while Fox News was trying to keep O'Reilly with the network in the wake of Megyn Kelly's departure.
Fox News is already under investigation by the US Department of Justice for its handling of harassment complaints, and the new reporting by the Times raises questions about the Murdochs' handling of their company. 'It's done as a way to put a hammer over the individual who signs so they will never come forward and disclose the allegations, ' she said.
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