The Fox News Channel says the company knew a news analyst planned to file a sexual harassment lawsuit against Bill O'Reilly when it renewed the popular personality's contract in February.
Former Fox News host Bill O'Reilly secretly settled a sexual harassment allegation with a network contributor for $32 million, the largest, by far, of six such agreements that eventually toppled the outspoken commentator, according to a new report. Neither Fox nor 21st Century acknowledged the settlement with Wiehl at the time O'Reilly was sacked.
O'Reilly's attorney, Fredric S. Newman, said his relationship with Wiehl was an 18-year friendship in which she sometimes gave him legal advice. "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", 21CF added.
O'Reilly lost his job at Fox in April after The Times revealed the existence of other settlements with women who had accused him of sexual harassment or verbal abuse. British regulators said scandals in the USA have already threatened its attempt to acquire the European satellite network Sky. It was that report, of course, that resulted in the Fox News anchor's ouster. She agreed not to sue Mr. O'Reilly, Fox News or 21st Century Fox and that all photos, text messages and other communications between the two would be destroyed. I will always look back on my time at Fox with great pride in the unprecedented success we achieved and with my deepest gratitude to all my dedicated viewers.
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"After 15 years on the air as a legal analyst for Fox News, I have chose to leave Fox to devote myself to my writing and other pursuits", Wiehl wrote in an email to colleagues on January 18.
Wiehl's $32 million deal is more than any other known sexual harassment settlements at Fox News. They note that O'Reilly's new contract stipulated they had the ability to fire him should new allegations arise.
The Times reports that 21st Century Fox bigwigs Rupert Murdoch and his sons, Lachlan and James, the top executives at 21st Century Fox, made a business decision to keep O'Reilly despite the harassment charges by Wiehl.
"She replied, I know you did, I know".
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Wiehl also said in the affidavit, "We have since resolved all of our issues" and that she would "no longer make the allegations" contained in a draft complaint against O'Reilly that she had drawn up months before.
After a few days of negotiation, O'Reilly and Wiehl reached a deal, according to the Times.
Wiehl had been a regular on "The O'Reilly Factor" for well over a decade.
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