Fox renewed O'Reilly contract despite knowing of allegations

Ruben Ruiz
October 22, 2017

Mr. O'Reilly ultimately left Fox News three months after reaching the settlement with Ms. Wiehl following news reports surfacing detailing a handful of similar, previously undisclosed allegations of sexual harassment raised by several of his female colleagues.

Amid the turmoil, 21st Century Fox had been facing legal and regulatory pressure, particularly its need to improve its image while seeking approval from British regulators to buy the European satellite company Sky. British regulators said scandals in the US have already threatened its attempt to acquire the European satellite network Sky.

O'Reilly told the Times, "I never mistreated anyone", but wanted to handle things privately to protect his kids.

The New York Times reported Saturday the company renewed the TV host's contract after he reached a $32 million settlement with the analyst.

According to a statement obtained by CNN, Fox News knew of the January settlement, but did not know of the settlement amount.

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 Mr. 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. His camp believes the leaks about the Wiehl settlement might be coming from Fox to hurt him.

Mark Fabiani, an O'Reilly spokesman, elaborated in a statement that the Times, in its latest story, has "maliciously smeared" O'Reilly by choosing to rely on "unsubstantiated allegations, anonymous sources and incomplete, leaked or stolen documents" instead of concrete, provable facts.

Wiehl last appeared on O'Reilly's show on December 20, 2016. But Hannity said he hoped O'Reilly would come back for more appearances.

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Even more so, the network's parent company 21st Century Fox was aware of the woman's allegations, which included "repeated harassment, a nonconsensual sexual relationship and the sending of gay pornography and other sexually explicit material to her", read the NYT. The paper reports Wiehl's attorneys sent a draft of a lawsuit to O'Reilly on January 2, and the parties reached a settlement a few days later.

Despite the record of settlements, Twenty-First Century Fox began contract negotiations with O'Reilly, and in February granted him a four-year extension that paid $25 million a year.

It said 21st Century Fox settled "almost all these cases", paying out close to $100 million.

According to the explosive new report, last January, O'Reilly struck the money deal with Fox News analyst Lis Wiehl, Times sources said.

In what the Times described as a "combative and defiant" O'Reilly, the former Fox host said in an interview on Wednesday that there was no merit to any of the allegations against him.

The new contract gave Fox an "out".

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.

September 26, 2017: O'Reilly appears again on Fox News, but as a guest on Sean Hannity's show. But her departure came at the exact same time as the $32 million settlement with O'Reilly. The largest of those was the $20 million payout former host Gretchen Carlson received after she sued Ailes in July 2016.

Other reports by GizPress

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