According to a new report published Saturday by the New York Times, five women who came forth with allegations of sexual harassment against Fox News host Bill O’Reilly, were paid off to the tune of approximately $13 million after they agreed not to discuss their accusations or pursue further litigation.
Both co-workers of the Fox News host and women who appeared on his show came forth with complaints about O’Reilly’s lewd remarks, unsolicited sexual advances, verbal abuse, and even phones calls during which the 67-year-old sounded as if he were masturbating.
For almost 20 years, O’Reilly has raked in billions of dollars in revenue for Fox News’ parent company, 21st Century Fox. So it’s likely unsurprising that the company has remained loyal to their top asset, repeatedly jumping to his defense following the series of allegations.
The settlements have been a long time in the making, two of which were already known to the public. One case involves an accusation of verbal abuse from a young producer, who claims O’Reilly berated her in front of newsroom colleagues. The case was was settled for approximately $9 million. The other settlement known to the public is from 2016 and involves former on-air TV personality, Juliet Huddy. According to The Times, O’Reilly pursued a sexual relationship with her back in 2011, and when she tried to put a stop to it, he attempted to stall her career.
The Times recently discovered three other settlements, including two sexual harassment allegations and another for verbally attacking a young producer.
Here’s an infographic of the five women who received settlements after accusing O’Reilly of sexual harassment:
Legal experts say companies often settle disputes they believe won’t hold up in court, to save legal fees and spare themselves public embarrassment.
Former Fox News chairman and CEO Roger Ailes has also come under fire for similar allegations, before ultimately resigning from his position in July of 2016. Following the allegations against Ailes, an internal investigation was conducted that found female Fox News employees faced harassment faced harassment. Many employees also told the NYT that they felt afraid to voice their allegations to top executives, including the human resources department of the company. Ailes denied all allegations and received a $40 million exit package upon his departure.
21st Century Fox released the following statement to the NYT, writing,
’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.’
O’Reilly joined Fox News in 1996, and hosts The O’Reilly Factor weekdays at 8 p.m. The show brought in over $446 million in revenue between 2014 and 2016. O’Reilly receives an annual salary of approximately $18 million.
Feature Image via Getty Images.