If you’ve been paying attention, the sexual harassment accusation cloud around Bill O’Reilly’s head has been hovering for quite some time.
Previously, the extent of the accusations and what all went down was pretty much under wraps. Now, we know a little bit more.
According to a report by the New York Times, O’Reilly and employer Fox News have paid up to $13 million to former colleagues who accused the host of sexual and verbal harassment. Released today (April 1), the report reveals fives settlements toward Bill-O in exchange for their silence on the matter.
Two of the payouts became public as former Fox news producer Andrea Mackris reached a $9 million settlement for sexual assault she encountered in 2004. Juliet Huddy settled for $1.6 million last year. Huddy’s along with an unnamed other case happened while the network was dealing with former president Roger Ailes’ sexual misconduct.
A few of the accusations included O’Reilly making “verbal abuse, lewd comments, unwanted advances and phone calls in which it sounded as if Mr. O’Reilly was masturbating.”
Bill O’Reilly has maintained his innocence. He and his network released statements surrounding the settlements. Read those below.
“21st Century Fox takes matters of workplace behavior very seriously. 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.”
“Just like other prominent and controversial people, I’m vulnerable to lawsuits from individuals who want me to pay them to avoid negative publicity. In my more than 20 years at Fox News Channel, no one has ever filed a complaint about me with the Human Resources Department, even on the anonymous hotline. But most importantly, I’m a father who cares deeply for my children and who would do anything to avoid hurting them in any way. And so I have put to rest any controversies to spare my children. The worst part of my job is being a target for those who would harm me and my employer, the Fox News Channel. Those of us in the arena are constantly at risk, as are our families and children. My primary efforts will continue to be to put forth an honest TV program and to protect those close to me.”
Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Hollywood Reporter)