Fox Settled $32 Million Harassment Case Against O'Reilly

Owen Sweeney  Rex Features

The Times, citing unnamed sources briefed on the situation, reported that O'Reilly last January agreed to pay Fox News legal analyst Lis Wiehl $32 million to settle sexual harassment claims shortly before the network renewed his contract.

"21st Century Fox has taken concerted action to transform Fox News, including installing new leaders, overhauling management and on-air talent, expanding training, and increasing the channels through which employees can report harassment or discrimination". About the same time, the O'Reilly settlements arose as an issue in Twenty-First Century Fox's attempt to buy the European satellite company Sky.

In a statement, Twenty-First Century Fox said it was not privy to the amount of the settlement and regarded O'Reilly's January settlement, which was reached with a 15-year Fox News analyst named Lis Wiehl, as a personal issue between the two of them.

October 21, 2017: The New York Times publishes its article on the settlement reportedly worth $32 million between O'Reilly and Wiehl.

"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.

After the settlement, 21st Century Fox - the Fox News parent company - struck a new four-year, $25 million per year contract with O'Reilly to continue as host of The O'Reilly Factor.

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On the decision to renew O'Reilly's contract, the company said Fox News "surely would have wanted to renew" his contract due to O'Reilly being "the biggest star in cable TV".

O'Reilly also claimed that he could definitely disprove all these claims against him but that he didn't want to for the sake of his children, which makes total sense.

But by April, the Murdochs chose to jettison O'Reilly as some of the settlements became public and posed a significant threat to their business empire.

O'Reilly's new deal included a stipulation that any further sexual harassment allegations made against him could lead to his termination. 21st Century Fox settled nearly all these cases, paying out close to $100 million dollars. Fox News Corp. then signed O'Reilly to a "record-breaking new contract after the company had analyzed and considered all allegations against him".

They were anxious about the company's image in the wake of the Ailes scandal and concerns over the imminent departure of high-profile anchor Megyn Kelly, the Times said. However, after other sex scandal allegations broke publicly about O'Reilly, he was sacked by Fox News.

"The former host has maintained the end of his hosting career was "politically and financially motivated", and contended, "...we can prove it with shocking information, but I'm not going to sit here in a courtroom for a year and a half and let my kids get beaten up every single day of their lives by a tabloid press that would sit there, and you know it".

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