Some disturbing details have been found regarding Bill O’Reilly and Fox News. Reportedly, a $13 million payment was made to five women who accused the TV show host of sexual harassment and verbal abuse.
The women, who all worked with O'Reilly or appeared on his show, agreed not to speak out against him or pursue legal action in exchange for the settlements. But a New York Times report revealed they complained about unwanted advances, lewd comments or verbal abuse prior to the settlement.
Andrea Mackris, who worked as a producer on his show, said O'Reilly called her while he was masturbating, told her to buy a vibrator, and described his sexual fantasies with her, according to a 2004 lawsuit.
She settled with O'Reilly to the tune of $9 million and a public statement that asserted there was “no wrongdoing whatsoever,” the Times reported.
O'Reilly took Mackris out to dinner in May 2002 to discuss her future at the company, and praised her work before announcing he was giving her a raise. Mackris alleged he also offered advice on how to meet men since the producer had recently broken up with her fiance.
The conversation continued with O'Reilly saying he had phone sex with another woman at Fox before suggesting he do the same with her, Mackris claimed.
He ended the dinner by winking and telling her, “Stick with me and I'll take care of you,” the lawsuit stated.
Mackris also accused O'Reilly of suggesting they have a menage-a-trois and regaling her with stories of his sexual encounters, before a telephone call in August 2004.
In addition to the five women, Wendy Walsh, a regular on his show, along with Andrea Tantaros also accused the 67-year-old of inappropriate behavior
They did not receive pay outs, and Tantaros is currently in a legal battle with Fox News and Roger Ailes, the network's disgraced chairman who was forced to resign in July amid a sexual harassment scandal.
The first settlement was reached in 2002, after O'Reilly screamed at producer Rachel Witlieb Bernstein, according to witnesses and other employees.
Berstein soon left the company with an undisclosed sum, although those familiar with the deal said it was significantly smaller than the four settlements that followed over the course of the next 15 years.
Rebecca Gomez Diamond, a host on the Fox Business Network, revealed her recorded conversations with O'Reilly after the network told her they would not be renewing her contract, those familiar with the case told the Times.
She settled with O'Reilly for an undisclosed sum.
The network also struck deals with Laurie Dhue and Juliet Huddy in 2016 for more than $1 million each after former Fox host Gretchen Carlson filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against Ailes.
An internal investigation was launched, and the network quietly paid Dhue more than $1 million after the anchor claimed she was sexually harassed by both O'Reilly and Ailes, the Times reported.
Huddy, an anchor who often appeared on O'Reilly's show, received a $1.6 million settlement. Huddy's lawyers said O'Reilly pursued a sexual relationship with her in 2011, and tried to limit her career prospects when she rejected him.
While the five women are now bound to confidentiality, another two who did not settle have made claims against O'Reilly's inappropriate behavior.
Parent company 21st Century Fox issued a statement standing behind O'Reilly. It read:
“Notwithstanding the fact that no current or former Fox News employee ever took advantage of the 21st Century Fox hotline to raise a concern about Bill O’Reilly, even anonymously, we have looked into these matters over the last few months and discussed them with Mr. O’Reilly. While he denies the merits of these claims, Mr. O’Reilly has resolved those he regarded as his personal responsibility. Mr. O’Reilly is fully committed to supporting our efforts to improve the environment for all our employees at Fox News.”
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[H/T Daily Mail]