On Saturday, The New York Times reported that Bill O'Reilly settled a sexual harassment claim with Fox News legal analyst Lis Wiehl in January for $32 million in January and was later given a new contract with the company.
In response, O'Reilly issued a statement saying that the Times had "maliciously smeared" him and claiming that during his years at Fox News, no coworker had filed a complaint against him with the Human Resources Department or Legal Department. According to former Fox News host Megyn Kelly, the latter statement is false.
On Monday, Kelly spoke on the Today show to reveal that she had made a complaint about O'Reilly to the presidents of Fox News, where she worked until this past January. She now works for NBC.
“O’Reilly’s suggestion that no one ever complained about his behavior is false,” she said. "I know because I complained."
Kelly explained that in her 2016 memoir, Settle for More, she included a chapter on former Fox News CEO Roger Ailes, who had been forced out after sexual harassment allegations. In the chapter, Kelly accused Ailes of sexually harassing her during her time at the network.
After the book's November release, O'Reilly appeared on CBS News and became defensive when asked about the memoir.
"I'm not interested in basically litigating something that is finished that makes my network look bad,'' he said. "I'm not interested in making my network look bad at all. That doesn't interest me one bit."
After the interview, Kelly emailed the co-presidents of Fox News, Bill Shine and Jack Abernethy to discuss O'Reilly's behavior.
"Perhaps he didn't realize the kind of message his criticism sent to young women across this country about how men continue to view the issue of speaking out about sexual harassment,'' she wrote. "Perhaps he didn't realize that his exact attitude of shaming women into shutting the hell up about harassment on grounds that it will disgrace the company is in part how Fox News got into the decade-long Ailes
The email continued, "Perhaps it's his own history of harassment with women, which has, as you both know, resulted in payouts to more than one woman, including recently, that blinded him to the folly of saying anything other than, 'I'm just so sorry for the women of this company who never should've had to go through that.''
Kelly said that she decided to share the email because "I think it speaks volumes about powerful men and the roadblocks one can face in taking them on."
The host said that Shrine told her he would "deal with it."
"By 8 p.m. that night, O'Reilly had apparently been dealt with, and by that I mean he was permitted with management's advance notice and blessing to go on the air and attack the company's harassment victims yet again,'' Kelly said on the Today show.
On his show the night Kelly sent her email, O'Reilly said, "Don't run down the concern that supports you by trying to undermine it," in regards to the victims.
Kelly noted that treatment like this is not "unique to Fox News."
"Women everywhere are used to being dismissed, ignored or attacked when raising complaints about men in authority positions," she said. "They stay silent so often out of fear."
"This must stop," Kelly continued. "The abuse of women, the shaming of them, the threatening, the retaliation, the silencing of them after the fact. It has to stop."
Photo Credit: Twitter / @MegynTODAY