Bill O'Reilly Reportedly Paid $32 Million Settlement in Sexual Harassment Suit

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The New York Times reported on Saturday that in January, Fox News paid $32 million to settle a previously undisclosed allegation of sexual harassment against Bill O'Reilly, just weeks before the network agreed to a contract with O'Reilly that would pay him $25 million a year.

O'Reilly was sacked by Fox News in April following the Times' report that he had been involved in settlements of harassment and sexual harassment claims with five women totaling $13 million, dating back to 2002.

The Times reports that 21st Century Fox bigwigs Rupert Murdoch and his sons, Lachlan and James, the top executives at 21st Century Fox, made a business decision to keep O'Reilly despite the harassment charges by Wiehl.

Two people briefed on the matter told the Times that 21st Century Fox, the parent company of Fox News, knew about the complaints against O'Reilly, which were brought by a Fox analyst.

Regarding O'Reilly's contract extension, the company said Fox News "surely would have wanted to renew" O'Reilly's contract, noting that "he was the biggest star in cable TV".

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During an interview with the Times on Wednesday, O'Reilly said, "I never mistreated anyone ..."

O'Reilly's lawyer disputed Wiehl's characterization of their relationship and said the host's relationship with the network analyst was an 18-year friendship during which she sometimes gave him legal counsel. The deal was struck less than a year after Fox News removed former chairman Roger Ailes.

But they ousted O'Reilly, 67, in April after some of his other settlements became public. The largest of those was the $20 million payout former host Gretchen Carlson received after she sued Ailes in July 2016.

That came just a couple of months later in April, when psychologist Wendy Walsh filed a new complaint with 21st Century Fox.

Early that month, The Times reported on five settlements involving O'Reilly, leading advertisers to boycott his show and spawning protests calling for his ouster. "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". Bloom is also representing Wendy Walsh, a former Fox News contributor who has said that O'Reilly reneged on an offer of employment after she rebuffed his advances and declined an invitation to his hotel suite in 2013. He later said he had been a good mentor to women while at Fox.

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