Fox Was Fine With O'Reilly Sexually Harassing Women So Long As He Paid Them Off Himself
Hey! Remember that time that Bill O'Reilly finally got kicked off of Fox News because of how much he could not stop sexually harassing the women he worked with?
Well, we all knew, obviously, that Fox knew all about his filthy falafel habits all along. I mean, if we did, then they did. But a report in The New York Times this week showed that not only did they know about all the old sexual harassing Bill O'Reilly did, but they also knew that he had just settled another sexual harassment "problem" for the tidy sum of $32 million dollars in January. WHICH IS A FUCKTON OF MONEY FOR THAT KIND OF THING. Andrea Mackris, the recipient of Bill's falafel fantasies, only got 9.
Perhaps because this one involved...
"...allegations of repeated harassment, a nonconsensual sexual relationship and the sending of gay pornography and other sexually explicit material to her, according to the people briefed on the matter."
I feel like there is another word for a nonconsensual sexual relationship? HMMM. What would that be?
In this case, the settlement was paid to avoid a sexual harassment lawsuit against him by 15-year Fox News analyst and lawyer Lis Wiehl. O'Reilly insisted to the times that, once again, he did nothing wrong and only paid her off to avoid embarrassing his children and whatnot.
“It’s politically and financially motivated,” he said of the public outcry over the allegations against him, “and we can prove it with shocking information, but I’m not going to sit here in a courtroom for a year and a half and let my kids get beaten up every single day of their lives by a tabloid press that would sit there, and you know it.”
Allow me to point out that this strategy clearly did not work! If he truly were innocent, it would probably make more sense to prove that in court than to become famous for paying women millions in order to "settle" these suits. Now, O'Reilly is still famous for being a sexual harasser, but is ALSO $32 million dollars poorer.
Anyway, the crux of this story is that Fox News knew all about this lawsuit beforehand, and then decided to renew O'Reilly's contract anyway, and also give him a $25 million a year raise. Perhaps to offset the cost of paying off the women he sexually harassed.
Since the publication of the article, Fox News has issued a statement explaining the reasoning behind the contract renewal.
When the company renewed Bill 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. 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. The company subsequently acted based on the terms of this contract.
21st Century Fox has taken concerted action to transform Fox News, including installing new leaders, overhauling management and on-air talent, expanding training, and increasing the channels through which employees can report harassment or discrimination. These changes come from the top, with Lachlan and James Murdoch personally leading the effort to promote civility and respect on the job, while maintaining the company’s long-held commitment to a diverse, inclusive and creative workplace.
Long-held commitment, indeed! What is a better demonstration of said Long-held commitment than "Well, he paid them off himself, and we said we'd fire him if he did any more sex harassing, so whatevs." Or the fact that O'Reilly recently appeared on the network to promote his book. Clearly, Fox knew about this problem and didn't care that much until people on the internet decided to not shut up about it ever.
Which is a very good reason to not shut up about anything, ever. And in the spirit of not-shutting up, ever, IT IS NOW TIME FOR YOUR OPEN THREAD! HOORAY! And don't forget to tip your Wonkettes!
Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. In addition to her work at Wonkette, she also has a biweekly column at Dame. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse