According to an explosive report dropped by The New York Times this Saturday, former Fox News anchor Bill O’Reilly settled a sexual harassment claim for $32 million just before the network renewed his contract.
O’Reilly was forced out at Fox in April after the Times revealed other settlements between O’Reilly and women who’ve accused him of harassment and verbal abuse. The $32 million given to longtime Fox analyst Leslie Wiehl is by far the highest of any of the previously known settlements.
In the wake of the Times’ report, O’Reilly took to Twitter and shared a post on his blog labeling the piece as just another “smear article.”
“Yet another smear article on me,” O’Reilly tweeted with a link to post from his blog. “BillOReilly.com has the verifiable truth. Please check it out.”
— Bill O'Reilly (@BillOReilly) October 21, 2017
The blog post claimed that “in the more than 20 years Bill O’Reilly worked at Fox News, not one complaint was filed against him with the Human Resources Department or Legal Department by a coworker, even on the anonymous hotline.”
But O’Reilly’s claim was met with someone who begged to differ, namely his former colleague at Fox News Gretchen Carlson, who retweeted O’Reilly’s tweet, adding, “Nobody pays $32m for false allegations – nobody.”
Nobody pays $32m for false allegations – nobody https://t.co/qB3njcHHuy
— Gretchen Carlson (@GretchenCarlson) October 21, 2017
Responding to another tweet from O’Reilly where he said, “My investigative team has done a superb job in exposing the lies and smear. I will speak with you on Monday,” Carlson said:
— Gretchen Carlson (@GretchenCarlson) October 22, 2017
Carlson was also a victim of the culture of sexual harassment that permeated the Fox News. According to a lawsuit she filed last year against the network’s founder and chairman Roger Ailes, she claimed she was fired from her job as a co-host of the show Fox & Friends after she refused Ailes’ sexual advances. She reached a $20 million settlement with Fox News’ parent company 21st Century Fox and was issued a formal apology before Ailes’ death in May.
“It’s an excruciating choice, but for me I realized that my career, my American dream of 27 years of hard work, that it was going to come to an end and it wasn’t my choice,” Carlson told CBS News. “If I didn’t, who was going to do it? And I didn’t want my children to face the same indignities that I had faced.”
Carlson is now an outspoken advocate for workplace equality and was named one of TIME Magazine’s 100 most influential people in 2017.
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