Published: Sun, October 22, 2017
Culture&Arts | By Hattie Nash

Fox renewed O'Reilly contract despite knowing of allegations


21st Century Fox released a statement to The Hollywood Reporter on Saturday, October 21, in which the company defended renewing O'Reilly's contact: "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". A month later, 21st Century Fox granted O'Reilly a four-year extension on a $25 million-a-year contract.

The Fox spokesman also explained that new conditions were placed in O'Reilly's contract that said the company could dismiss him should new or additional information surface regarding the sexual misconduct allegations.

O'Reilly reportedly sent Wiehl a great deal of sexually explicit material as part of his continued harassment, including sending her gay pornography, according to the report.

In January, the reporting shows, Rupert Murdoch and his sons, Lachlan and James, the top executives at Twenty-First Century Fox, made a business calculation to stand by O'Reilly despite his most recent, and potentially most explosive, harassment dispute. "I never mistreated anyone", he said, adding that he had resolved matters privately because he wanted to protect his children from the publicity. His camp believes the leaks about the Wiehl settlement might be coming from Fox to hurt him.

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The story immediately raised new questions about the ongoing Justice Department investigation into Fox News. The new contract had stipulations in place that stated if Bill executed improper conduct for the second time executives would have to let him go from his position at the network.

Asked about the allegation of a nonconsensual sexual relationship, a representative for O'Reilly, Mark Fabiani, said that Twenty-First Century Fox was "well aware" Wiehl had signed a sworn affidavit "renouncing all allegations against him", adding that after receiving the document Fox News offered O'Reilly "a record breaking contract".

"The Times printed leaked information provided by anonymous sources that is out of context, false, defamatory, and obviously created to embarrass Bill O'Reilly and to keep him from competing in the marketplace", O'Reilly's spokesman Mark Fabiani said in a statement on Saturday. "The New York Times has copies of two letters written by 21st Century Fox lawyers attesting to that fact".

Bill O'Reilly agreed to pay $32 million to resolve sexual harassment claims lodged by a frequent guest of his former Fox News program, The New York Times reported Saturday - an enormous, previously undisclosed settlement reached weeks before the disgraced pundit received a pay raise from the network's parent company.

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Finally, in the more than 20 years Bill O'Reilly worked at Fox News, not one complaint was filed against him with the Human Resources Department or Legal Department by a coworker, even on the anonymous hotline.

Wiehl had been a regular on "The O'Reilly Factor" for well over a decade. But her departure came at the exact same time as the $32 million settlement with O'Reilly. The email was obtained by CNN.

"She replied, I know you did, I know".

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