Bill O’Reilly personally settled with a harassment victim for $32 million

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I’m not sure who – if anyone – still cares about Bill O’Reilly, but here we go. O’Reilly got taken down for good cause earlier this year, when the New York Times spilled the tea about just how many women O’Reilly and Fox News had paid off over the years. These women were all victims of harassment and abuse at the hands (and falafel) of O’Reilly, Roger Ailes and more. O’Reilly and Ailes seemed to be biggest culprits of Fox News’ Harassment Emporium, and O’Reilly’s systemic harassment of female Fox employees had cost Fox News corporate millions of dollars in under-the-radar settlements. Well, it turns out that O’Reilly’s inability to treat women with respect also cost him a lot personally – O’Reilly had to pay one woman $32 million out of his own pocket. Yikes.

The New York Times reported on Saturday that in January, Bill O’Reilly paid $32 million to settle a previously undisclosed allegation of sexual harassment, just weeks before he agreed to a new contract with Fox News that would pay him $25 million a year. According to the Times, the network’s parent company, 21st Century Fox, was aware of the allegations and settlement, but the company says it was not aware the settlement amount.

The star anchor was dismissed in April amid widespread public outrage after the Times revealed that he and Fox News had paid about $13 million in settlements to bury numerous similar allegations over the years. O’Reilly has dismissed all the charges as baseless, telling the Times that they are “politically and financially motivated.”

In a statement, O’Reilly spokesperson Mark Fabiani dismissed Saturday’s Times report as “false, defamatory, and obviously meant to embarrass Bill O’Reilly and to keep him from competing in the marketplace.”

The Times reports that the newly disclosed case centered around O’Reilly and Lis Wiehl, a former Fox legal analyst who periodically appeared as a guest on The O’Reilly Factor and co-hosted his radio show for a time. Wiehl claimed that she had 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. O’Reilly said that Wiehl was one of his lawyers, and that he had forwarded explicit messages from viewers to her as part of an effort to vet threats against him.

In 2006, Media Matters reported that O’Reilly routinely made inappropriate comments to and about Wiehl during their radio show, labeling her “eye candy” and calling for a “full body search” of his co-host. Despite the lurid details — and the (at least) five other harassment claims that had been settled in previous years — Rupert Murdoch and his sons James and Lachlan reportedly made a “business calculation” to retain O’Reilly, their biggest star at the time, in January.

The money involved in O’Reilly’s case is also exceptional; the $32 million O’Reilly dished out eclipsed the $20 million paid to Gretchen Carlson in her settlement against Roger Ailes and singlehandedly dwarfed the amount of the five other publicly known settlements pertaining to claims against O’Reilly.

Since his dismissal, O’Reilly’s media profile has dimmed, though he continues to broadcast his hard-edged political opinions from home, and recently published the latest installment in his bestselling Killing series. O’Reilly hasn’t exactly been exiled from Fox News either — he recently appeared on Sean Hannity’s show, where he lamented not fighting harder to keep his job. When the charges against him first appeared, O’Reilly also found an ally in fellow alleged groper President Trump, who said “I don’t think Bill did anything wrong. I think he’s a person I know well — he is a good person.”

[From NY Magazine]

Even if you’re prone to give abusers and serial harassers the benefit of the doubt in these kinds of situations, the money involved points to the fact that O’Reilly made this woman’s life a living hell. You don’t pay out $32 million because you just want to “throw some money at the problem” or because “it’s easier to settle.” You pay out $32 million because the woman you’ve been harassing is a lawyer, and she gathered evidence of your harassment over the course of years, and she has you dead to rights. You pay out $32 million because you know that if it ever saw the inside of a courtroom, you would have to pay a lot more, and perhaps it would involve criminal charges too. The best part of this story is that the Murdoch family STILL renewed his f–king contract with knowledge of the settlement and harassment. For the love of God.

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64 Responses to “Bill O’Reilly personally settled with a harassment victim for $32 million”

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  1. Mia4s says:

    Amen to Gretchen’s tweet.

    Also $32 million was the settlement number. The means higher numbers were on the table at some point. The awfulness of his actions must have been…I just can’t right now. Throw him in a bottomless pit and be done with it. This would also be a good time to remind everyone that his children, both of them, apparently hate him and don’t see him. He’s ugly inside and out.

    • emma33 says:

      I know absolutely nothing about these kind of settlements, and $32 million is just an incredible number. Does she have to show that she had $32 million worth of suffering, or that he might have cost her that in potential earnings? I’m just wondering how the dollar amount links to the suffering he caused (or crimes he committed).

      • Merritt says:

        I’m guessing it was more like $32 million worth of damaging info about O’Reilly.

      • ArchieGoodwin says:

        I think.. that’s how much it was worth to him NOT to have her tell the story to the public. That’s how bad it was.

        I am probably wrong, but that’s how I read the tweets, the amount and circumstances.

      • emma33 says:

        Oh, that makes sense! Thanks for the explanation.

      • Annetommy says:

        I’m sure he is vile, as is that network, but people in the UK have been paralysed for life from the neck down and have got a couple of million to keep them for the rest of their lives. Which is far too little. That does seem an extraordinary settlement for a case without a proven crime. But hey, it’s O’Reilly, stuff him.

      • Megan says:

        “Non-consexual sex” would be rape. I’m guessing it was $32 million or jail.

      • Sophia's Side eye says:

        Annetommy, I was thinking that maybe she came to him with her case around the time of his contract renewal? With his job literally on the line at the time he would’ve been very eager to settle quickly.

      • Royalsparkle says:

        Such a settlement should be criminal and automatically prosecuted.

      • K says:

        The settlements paid for injury are calculations based on what their needs are for life care. They’re paid from insurance, mostly. The pot is finite, because it has to be met by premiums.

        This guy paid what it was worth to him to stop her talking, not what her needs were, and the limit was only on his own resources and what sort of damage she could do him and his career.

        That’s an awful lot of silence he was wanting to buy.

    • Nic919 says:

      Usually the settlement number reflects about 50% of the potential damages that could be awarded at court. In this case if she had a lot of evidence maybe it’s a bit higher of a potential, but that’s usually a number awarded at court and not during settlement negotiations. O’Reilly has a lot to hide on this claim.

      • lightpurple says:

        He also had previous lawsuits and settlements. That does factor into the court’s calculations. Another factor is whether any part of her claim consists of “retaliation.” Awards for retaliation claims are punitive and usually consist of the amount of damages MULTIPLIED

    • ELX says:

      $32 million out of his own pocket—none of the corporates or their insurance would touch this. And apparently a “non-consensual sexual relationship” was part of this. Billy Boy paid this out of his own fortune because he did not want to spend his twilight years in the upstate on a long stretch for rape.

      I think the Murdoch family is a criminal conspiracy; their behavior in the UK cell phone tapping scandal is witness to what they are capable of. They are utterly amoral and like any mafia family use cut-outs to avoid direct prosecution. They should never have been permitted to become US citizens. They should be stripped of that citizenship, forced to divest their US TV and radio assets and thrown bodily out of the country.

  2. Snowflake says:

    I’m so sick of reading about these companies doing settlement for these guys and keeping them on! Does no one have any morals any more? I mean, you have to have a lack of morals to keep a sexual predator on, when you Know he’s done this stuff. Women’s safety means nothing to them. Cause he’s done it before, so he’s going to do it to his female co-workers. But they don’t give a shit as long as they are making money

    • Swak says:

      Agree. Can’t believe he is still working for them. But then again it came out of his pocket and not theirs. Probanly the reason they gab him a new contract. Not saying that is right.

    • Tate says:

      We have a person who admitted to sexual assault of women on tape in the WH. I think America is running a little low in the morals department right now.

  3. Kate says:

    He’s a revolting human being, we always knew that but where are all the articles blaming the GOP and the RNC for O’Racist’s actions? Anyone??

    • ArchieGoodwin says:

      Not one I’ve seen. And the outspoken republicans, about HW, are very quiet about this asshat.

      • Hazel says:

        I think it’s partly because HW is Jewish. Anti-semitism runs wide & deep amongst the Republican Party.

  4. Radley says:

    Sounds like he committed rape and was desperate to keep this out of court. There’s a mention of a non-consensual sexual relationship. Is that legalese for sexually assaulted multiple times?

    At any rate, this guy is a pig and I don’t know what Fox could possibly be thinking. This is low, even for them.

    • adastraperaspera says:

      Yes, I wonder what in the world a “non-consensual sexual relationship” is when the two parties are of age? Is that just a euphemism for rape? His crimes are egregious, clearly. Having Gretchen Carlson call him out on twitter is such poetic justice.

      P.S. Isn’t it amazing that corporations, including media conglomerates, are begging to have billions of taxes cut so they can “stay afloat”–but they have enough extra funds sloshing around to burn cash on covering up for abusers? Crooks & liars.

      • Nancito says:

        So Bill O’Reilly paid a woman $32 million dollars to make a sexual harassment case go away. But Weinstein only had to pay $100,000 for actually raping Rose McGowan, where’s the justice and logic here?

      • BJ says:

        Non consensual sex is rape

  5. Sixer says:

    In the wake of all this shit, male British media journos are writing article after article – you can’t do anything any more! Can I sign my emails with kisses or will it get me the sack? Men’s careers are being destroyed, what about mine? Awkward flirting isn’t abuse!

    On and on and on.

    All they’re doing is looking back at their own behaviour over the years and promptly shitting their pants.

    • ArchieGoodwin says:

      awkward flirting isn’t abuse,of course it’s not, for god’s sake. You can show interest in someone. It becomes abuse when the signals back are NO, and you do it anyway. That’s the problem.
      People are deliberately obtuse, because I agree, they are looking back and seeing that the person they thought was charmed by their “awkward” attempts was really creeped out and they refused to back the hell off.

      • Sixer says:

        Exactly. It’s the sudden realisation on their part that their behaviour in the past has been skeevy, that everyone who isn’t skeevy like them agrees it’s skeevy, so they’re banging out columns to get their defences in in advance.

    • Samantha says:

      Funny how none of these high profile cases have been about “awkward flirting”. & if someone can’t differentiate between flirting and harassment, they should just stop flirting. No one’s gonna cry for you cause you could lose your ‘flirting rights’.
      I’m really not hopeful that things will change any time soon about sexual harassment & assault. Every time someone tries to start the conversation about how prevalent these problems are and how woman can’t come forward, there’s a whole lineup of frantic males (& females) screaming “what about false accusations?!!”

      • Sixer says:

        It’s their definition of what constitutes “awkward flirting” that is sending them running for the hills, I guarantee you. My personal best guess is that they’re panicking some female journo colleagues will start publishing all the skeevy DMs they’ve been sending via social media since time immemorial.

      • third ginger says:

        It’s the classic false and demeaning defense. The “you can’t even open a door for anyone” garbage. It’s been going on since I was young, and I am thankful it is being exposed!

      • Nancito says:

        I don’t think that the “awkward flirters” have much to worry about, because the Donna Karans of the world will be on hand to ask what the women were wearing when they were awkwardly flirted with.

    • emma33 says:

      It’s like Woody Allen’s comments about witch hunts and men being charged for winking at women.

      Creeps of the world: Get back to us when someone IS sued for awkward flirting or winking and we can have that discussion.

    • magnoliarose says:

      They are desperate to be seen as victims in a changing world where women and minorities are mad as h.ll and we aren’t going to take it anymore! Now the little brats will have to behave.

  6. Samantha says:

    The average settlement sum for sexual harassment is around $150k! Courts award a bit more, on average around $250K.
    I’m just wondering how they got to $32M. Maybe there were quite a few events that would constitute criminal activity? Apparently not even Weinstein ever paid that much.

    • H says:

      I wonder if the victim had audio or video. That might cause the amount to go that high.

    • Nic919 says:

      I think his public profile would be a part of the reason for the higher amount.. I am also thinking that punitive damages must have been a significant risk for O’Reilly and Fox.

    • magnoliarose says:

      The information that is known about his harassment is bad so what we don’t know has to be horrible enough that it probably would have sent him into hiding. The proof must have been strong.

  7. Peace says:

    No one even pays $5,000 for a FALSE allegation. Whatever he did must have been so bad that he had to cough out that huge amount. I’m surprised baby fists haven’t hired him yet.

    • lightpurple says:

      Actually, yes, they do. $5,000 wouldn’t cover the legal expenses of discovery. $5,000 is well within “go away” range and is very often a starting offer in settlement discussions.

  8. TurkeyLurkey says:

    https://www.nytimes.com/books/best-sellers/hardcover-nonfiction/

    Guess who’s book is number one? The repubs only see Weinstein as a predator not anyone on their side.

    32 million means something really bad happened and she must have a lot of evidence.

  9. Beth says:

    Wow! With all of the millions Fox News have paid for settlements and now $32M right out of his own pocket, these women must have extremely damaging information

  10. Who ARE these people? says:

    How much more confirmation is needed that the US power establishment includes or is based on violence toward women?

  11. Lolo86lf says:

    Wow, 32 million dollars out of his own pocket! Where is the outrage from the GOP and conservative Christians nationwide? Where are Ann Coulter’s pungent tweets decrying Fox News and Bill O’reilly’s reprehensible behavior? Oh wait, she forgot because she way too busy pinning Weintein’s behavior on Democrats and liberals, not to mention that she is a regular guest on Fox News, such hypocrisy.

    • IlsaLund says:

      Totally agree. The hypocrisy is suffocating. FOX news and the conservative right have been sickening in their faux condemnation of Weinstein and the “snowflake liberals.” Once again, their fake moral high road is undermined by the reprehensible actions of one of their own darlings. And FOX really should STFU about Weinstein considering it’s record/behavior with Ailes and O’Reilly. $32 million dollars??? How I wish the info could be made public.

  12. Tania says:

    Sexual harassment and assault are CRIMES. These people are paying for CRIMES to be swept under the rug. Companies are AWARE that CRIMES are being paid to go away. Why is this acceptable? You couldn’t do this with murder, why is it ok for sexual assault?

    • Who ARE These People? says:

      Same excellent questions I ask about child abuse. Same power dynamics. Same expectations that the victim/survivor is not supposed to talk, same memory lapse that the criminal justice code defines these crimes as … crimes.

  13. Svea says:

    And I bet he still thinks he is a victim. He existing hatred of women must be off the scales now.

  14. JRenee says:

    $32M? Omg, tgat amount says it was worth whatever evidence she had, to pay..of his own $$$. I hope this being leaked means the likes of him and his type will no longer be on television. Omg!

  15. Who ARE These People? says:

    Was it really all his $32M or did the company slip him something on the side?

  16. Millie says:

    While I have absolutely no sympathy for this guy, it never ceases to amaze me, as a Brit, to see the figures paid out in compensation cases in the States.

    • Samantha says:

      The average is far lower than this in the States. There are some off the chart cases like this one but earning millions in harassment cases is an oddity, not the norm. I for one think this case must have involved more than harassment.

    • Veronica says:

      Well, keep in mind there’s a world of difference between intended payout and what the victim actually receives. In this particular case, the high profile nature of the case and the wealth of the people involved is a big part of it.

  17. Betsy says:

    I clicked on this also wondering “$32 million?” That’s insane! What did he do?

  18. smcollins says:

    As if I needed any more reasons to hate Fox News. I feel like I should be shocked by this, but nope. Disgusted, yes. Shocked, no.

  19. Olivia says:

    Ugh seeing Harvey and Bill O’reilly stories side by side. Men are cancelled #2107#

  20. BJ says:

    Let me watch Fox News today. I know they will cover the story of a powerful man paying $32M to a woman accusing him of sexual harassment and non consensual sex.#sarcasm

  21. Agent Fang says:

    And conservatives like this asshole have the cheek to preach about morality, Christian values and being tough on crime. Give me a break.

  22. The Old KC says:

    Falafel?! Did this mean “loofah”? Or maybe I missed something…please dish!

  23. S says:

    $32 million which, even given O’Reilly’s significant net worth (we know his contract AFTER this was for $25 mil/per) is a HUGE sum, is the kind of money you pay out only when you know the person actually has the goods to put you in the pokey. He wasn’t doing this to stave off a higher settlement; it’s the sort of cash you only put on the line when you’re rich enough to buy your way out of prison.

    Oh and, keep in mind, this is one of only 6 settlements (the rest still have unknown numbers) he’s paid out.