Fox renewed O'Reilly contract despite knowing of allegations

Oscar Cross
October 23, 2017

Bill O'Reilly's ousting from Fox News followed an advertiser exodus prompted by revelations of five settlements (totaling $13 million) paid by O'Reilly and Fox News to sexual harassment accusers.

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. These included allegations of repeated harassment, a nonconsensual sexual relationship and the sending of gay pornography and other sexually explicit material to her, according to the people briefed on the matter, the Times reported.

"After a thorough and careful review of the allegations, the Company and Bill O'Reilly have agreed that Bill O'Reilly will not be returning to the Fox News Channel", 21st Century Fox said in a statement at the time.

However, O'Reilly refused to specifically comment on Wiehl.

In addition, federal prosecutors were looking into the network's handling of sexual harassment complaints against Ailes and had asked for material related to allegations involving O'Reilly, the Times reported, quoting an internal Fox email obtained by the newspaper.

Wiehl's $32 million deal is more than any other known sexual harassment settlements at Fox News.

The Times said the $32 million settlement with Lis Wiehl was more than three times the amount of any of O'Reilly's previously known deals.

A spokesman for O'Reilly released a statement, saying that "Once again, The New York Times has maliciously smeared Bill O'Reilly".

"This article, like our previous reporting on the subject, is accurate and deeply reported and we welcome any challenge to the facts", the newspaper said in a statement to The Associated Press on Saturday. However, after other sex scandal allegations broke publicly about O'Reilly, he was sacked by Fox News.

21st Century Fox paid out close to $100 million dollars to settle all the cases, Fabiani said, adding that in O'Reilly's 20 years working at the channel not one complaint was filed against him by a co-worker, even on an anonymous hotline.

Six days after Fox's general counsel, according to the email, informed the Murdochs that details of the January settlement were expected to become public, O'Reilly was sacked.

According to the Times, Fox negotiated his contract to include new provisions that would allow O'Reilly to be let go if new allegations came to light.

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 created to embarrass Bill O'Reilly and to keep him from competing in the marketplace.

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