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He's photogenic, too!


You might find this difficult to believe, but Bill O'Reilly just might be a temperamental blowhard whose explosive temper and toxic behavior have cost Fox News around $13 million in settlements paid to at least five women he's worked with, according to a New York Times story published this weekend. And he seemed so warm and cuddly, too! No wonder he's always so tetchy -- he has to be on constant lookout for mean women accusing him of being harassy to them. That sort of thing has to wear on a guy.

Among the five payouts made to women who brought suit against O'Reilly, two occurred after Roger Ailes was shitcanned from Fox last summer for his own harassment of women at the network. The Times notes the network said after Ailes's departure that it definitely does not tolerate behavior that "disrespects women or contributes to an uncomfortable work environment," or at least only when it's perpetrated by their top-rated anchor. Of the five settlements, only two had previously been known publicly. And gosh, doesn't working for O'Reilly sound like a dream job?

The reporting suggests a pattern: As an influential figure in the newsroom, Mr. O’Reilly would create a bond with some women by offering advice and promising to help them professionally. He then would pursue sexual relationships with them, causing some to fear that if they rebuffed him, their careers would stall.

The whole thing is worth a read, what with all the climate-of-fear details and the defensive denials from Fox and O'Reilly; also, we should note that one of the settlements didn't involve sexual harassment, but rather was over a very public hissy fit O'Reilly pitched at a young producer in 2002; like the other settlements, the woman O'Reilly lost his shit at accepted a cash settlement and a confidentiality agreement, so exactly why he was screaming at her in the newsroom isn't clear, although he probably had a perfectly good reason for it. The other cases all involved sexual harassment, like the previously known 2004 suit against O'Reilly by a producer, Andrea Mackris, who said O'Reilly had called her to talk about his gross sexual fantasies. Which he described in detail while it sounded like he was masturbating, according to the lawsuit. Ms. Mackris recorded some of those calls (falafel), and they were awful (falafel), and let's all relive the glory of them, right here!

Ms. Mackris also said in the suit that Mr. O’Reilly, who was married at the time (he and his wife divorced in 2011), threatened her, saying he would make any woman who complained about his behavior “pay so dearly that she’ll wish she’d never been born.”

Current and former Fox employees also said Fox and O'Reilly made it clear that any women who complained about O'Reilly's behavior could expect to be treated like dirt -- in Mackris's case, the network and O'Reilly sued her first, accusing her of trying to extort $60 million from him. The network also hired a private investigator and PR firm to make Mackris look as bad as possible, painting her as a promiscuous hussy who was out to destroy the poor innocent yelly man. O'Reilly eventually settled for a $9 million payout and a public statement that there had been “no wrongdoing whatsoever” -- so that's exoneration, all right. You'd better not mention it any more. Nothing to see!

Three other women also sued and settled sexual harassment cases against O'Reilly, again with confidentiality agreements, so the women aren't sharing any details, but the Times obtained correspondence from the lawyers for one of the women, Juliet Huddy, a frequent guest commentator on his show, with whom the network settled for $1.6 million last September. The lawyers said O'Reilly tried to pursue sexytimes with Huddy in 2011 (busy year for him -- another lawsuit dated from that year as well) and that he had made inappropriate phone calls and generally been a big ol' boor:

The letter said that when he tried to kiss her, she pulled away and fell to the ground and he didn’t help her up.

When she rebuffed him, he tried to blunt her career prospects, the letter said.

And wouldn't you know it, before finally reaching a settlement, O'Reilly's attorneys first tried to bully Huddy into not suing him, sending a letter threatening that if she sued him, they would go after her with their own lawsuits "to hold Ms. Huddy, and all who have assisted her, personally liable for any damage suffered by him or his family."

After all, he's a decent guy who won't stand for being accused of sexual harassment merely because he may have sexually harassed some women. O'Reilly has hired himself a "crisis communication" firm to help protect his image, which has already gotten busy on helping O'Reilly portray himself as the victim. In a statement, the poor lad explained all these women are just out to get him because he dares to be so darn truthy about the news:

“Just like other prominent and controversial people,” the statement read, “I’m vulnerable to lawsuits from individuals who want me to pay them to avoid negative publicity. In my more than 20 years at Fox News Channel, no one has ever filed a complaint about me with the Human Resources Department, even on the anonymous hotline.

“But most importantly, I’m a father who cares deeply for my children and who would do anything to avoid hurting them in any way. And so I have put to rest any controversies to spare my children.

“The worst part of my job is being a target for those who would harm me and my employer, the Fox News Channel. Those of us in the arena are constantly at risk, as are our families and children. My primary efforts will continue to be to put forth an honest TV program and to protect those close to me.”

See? He's just trying to protect his kids! Not that any of the women accused his kids of sexually harassing them. Of course, we might point out that if O'Reilly really wanted to protect his kids from trauma and scandal, he probably should have avoided choking his former wife in front of them -- allegedly! -- which we bet was a lot more upsetting than those lawsuits. Someone should think of the children, even if it isn't Bill O'Reily.

Yr Wonkette is supported by reader donations. Give generously or we may be forced to make you think of Bill O'Reilly rubbing one out again.

[NYT / The Smoking Gun]

Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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