Bill O’Reilly and Fox News have settled five sexual harassment lawsuits since 2004, the New York Times has revealed. In total the known settlements have amounted to about $13m (£10.4m). While Fox News seems to have paid the bulk of them, Mr O’Reilly says he has resolved all cases he considers “his personal responsibility”.
Since the allegations have come to light Fox News has faced growing pressure to fire their star host, whose primetime show averages 3.9m viewers every night on “The O’Reilly Factor”. At least a dozen companies have pulled adverts from the show so far, including Mercedes, BMW, and Hyundai. Mr O’Reilly denies all wrongdoing and has released a statement indicating he is a victim of a celebrity witch hunt.
But what are the allegations? Not all details are known due to confidentiality agreements, but he has been accused of:
Making sexual advances that made a female host fall over
Juliet Huddy reached a settlement in September after she made a number of allegations against O’Reilly. In one instance, Ms Huddy claimed he tried to kiss her in a way that made her fall over as she pulled away, and that he didn’t help her up.
Ms Huddy also accused Mr O’Reilly of inappropriate phone calls, trying to stymie her career once she had rejected him, and threatening her with his lawyers. In a letter obtained by the New York Times, Mr O'Reilly's lawyers say she would “face significant credibility concerns if she tries to pursue a claim”.
Telling a female employee to buy a vibrator
In 2004 Andrea Mackris sued Mr O’Reilly for sexual harassment after working as a producer on “The O’Reilly Factor”. She settled for about $9m and released a joint-statement with Mr O’Reilly saying “no wrongdoing whatsoever” had occurred. But according to court files, Ms Mackris had claimed Mr O’Reilly made many offensive sexual comments to her during their time as colleagues, including a time when he told her to buy a vibrator.
Phoning women up and seeming to masturbate with a vibrator
Ms. Mackris, who never worked in television news again after the settlement, also claimed in her lawsuit there were times she thought she heard him masturbating while on the phone to her. She said he would describe his sexual fantasies to her, and tried to have unwanted phone sex while using a vibrator on himself.
Promising lucrative jobs opportunities before making sexual advances
Wendy Walsh has recently told the New York Times that Mr O’Reilly made inappropriate advances after promising to make her a contributor on his show. After she rejected him, Ms Walsh says the verbal offer was withdrawn, and his promise never materialised.
Ms Walsh claims Mr O’Reilly invited her back to his hotel suite after promising her the role over dinner. She declined, but wanting to remain cordial suggested they go to the hotel bar. He accepted her offer, but became hostile towards her once they arrived. She continued to appear on the show for four months before a producer told her she was no longer needed.
Threatening against people complaining
In her 2004 lawsuit Ms Mackris said that Mr O’Reilly threatened her about complaining, and said anyone who did so would “pay so dearly that she’ll wish she’d never been born”.