Fox kept O'Reilly despite harassment suit

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NYT: O'Reilly Struck $32M Settlement In January Over Harassment Allegations
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25 October, 2017

A representative for O'Reilly told the New York Times that once Fox News received a sworn affidavit from Wiehl "renouncing all allegations against him", it offered him "a recording breaking contract".

Mr. O'Reilly learned on January 2 that Ms. Wiehl meant to sue him for sexual harassment, according to The New York Times report.

Even so, 21st Century Fox reportedly began contract negotiations with O'Reilly, Fox News' most lucrative host, and agreed to a four-year, extended contract paying him $25 million a year.

When Fox renewed O'Reilly's contract in February, it "knew that a sexual harassment lawsuit had been threatened against him by Lis Wiehl, but was informed by Mr. O'Reilly that he had settled the matter personally, on financial terms that he and Ms. Wiehl had agreed were confidential and not disclosed to the company", 21st Century Fox said in a statement.

The star anchor was dismissed in April after the Times revealed that Fox News had paid about $13 million in settlements to bury numerous similar allegations over the years, sparking widespread outrage.

The amount that O'Reilly settled for - $32 million - and the fact that Fox still re-upped O'Reilly's after the fact, despite not knowing the details of the settlement at the time, is what made the story so big.

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The revelation that Bill O'Reilly paid $32 million to a former Fox News colleague is shocking only in the settlement's size and and timing.

Carlson, who's gone on to pen an upcoming book on sexual harassment, condemned companies for settling claims or building arbitration clauses into an employee's contract in case a legal issue arose.

"This is crap, and you know it", O'Reilly told the Times, when asked about the settlement.

The Times characterized the sum to Wiehl as "extraordinarily large". Wiehl claimed that she been subject to a pattern of behavior that included "harassment, a nonconsensual sexual relationship and the sending of gay pornography and other sexually explicit material to her", according to people familiar with the settlement.

The huge payout became a concern because of the U.S. Attorney's investigation into Fox News' and its parent company 21st Century Fox's handling of sexual harassment allegations, in the wake of Fox News founder Roger Ailes' ouster over his own pattern of sexual harassment.


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