Saturday, 18 November, 2017

Fox renewed Bill O'Reilly deal despite harassment suit

Demonstrator Matt Mitchell holds a sign outside of the News Corp. and Fox News headquarters April 19 in midtown Demonstrator Matt Mitchell holds a sign outside of the News Corp. and Fox News headquarters April 19 in midtown
Kelvin Reese | 23 October, 2017, 04:41

Former top Fox News host Bill O'Reilly, who left the network in April amid accusations of sexual harassment, in January struck a $32 million settlement agreement with a former analyst for Fox News, months before his contract was extended, the New York Times reported on Saturday.

O'Reilly's four-year contract extension paid $25 million a year, according to the newspaper.

The company also claimed that it has taken action to change the culture of Fox News in the wake of its sexual harassment scandals, including "increasing the channels through which employees can report harassment or discrimination".

"His new contract, which was made at a time typical for renewals of multi-year talent contracts, added protections for the company specifically aimed at harassment, including that O'Reilly could be dismissed if the company was made aware of other allegations or if additional relevant information was obtained in a company investigation".

"The company subsequently acted based on the terms of this contract", the statement continued.

Wiehl also said in the affidavit, "We have since resolved all of our issues" and that she would "no longer make the allegations" contained in a draft complaint against O'Reilly that she had drawn up months before. Neither Fox nor 21st Century acknowledged the settlement with Wiehl at the time O'Reilly was sacked. Fox re-signed O'Reilly earlier this year, he wrote, "after the company had analyzed and considered all the allegations against him".

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In its first article about Mr. O'Reilly on April 1, The New York Times printed inaccurate settlement figures while fully understanding that O'Reilly and his counsel are legally bound by confidentiality and can not set the record straight.

He cautioned the Murdochs that they ought to expect points of interest from the January settlement to wind up plainly open. The five agreements reportedly amounted to $13 million, and included a 2004 payment by O'Reilly to a former Fox producer named Andrea Mackris for $9 million. "I think he's a person I know well - he is a good person".

Wiehl brings the total number of women known to have received sexual harassment settlements from O'Reilly to six.

Nevertheless, the Murdochs chose to re-sign O'Reilly, despite being aware of his history of settlements, including the one with Wiehl only a month before they began contract renewal talks.

Roger Ailes, the co-founder and former chairman of Fox News, was similarly ousted from the network in July 2016 amid a flurry of sexual harassment allegations dating back decades. When Wiehl first appeared on the show in 2001, O'Reilly said he had gotten her the job and that she owed him for it, to which she replied, "No, no, no".

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