Fox kept O'Reilly despite harassment suit

The New York Times reported on Saturday that in January, Fox News paid $32 million to settle a previously undisclosed allegation of sexual harassment against Bill O'Reilly, just weeks before the network agreed to a contract with O'Reilly that would pay him $25 million a year.

The Times reports that the newly disclosed case centered around O'Reilly and Lis Wiehl, a former Fox legal analyst who occasionally appeared on his television and radio shows.

According to the NYT, O'Reilly's actions in the Wiehl matter took the form of "allegations of repeated harassment, a nonconsensual sexual relationship and the sending of gay pornography and other sexually explicit material to her, according to the people briefed on the matter".

O'Reilly reportedly settled a $32 million lawsuit, which the network was aware of when it resigned him earlier this year.

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Fox News' parent company insists it didn't know about the amount of the settlement.

Roger Ailes, the co-founder and former chairman of Fox News, was similarly ousted from the network in July 2016 amid a flurry of sexual harassment allegations dating back decades. The paper reports Wiehl's attorneys sent a draft of a lawsuit to O'Reilly on January 2, and the parties reached a settlement a few days later. They agreed that all communications between her and O'Reilly would be destroyed, and she signed an affidavit saying she had "no claims against Bill O'Reilly concerning any of those emails or any of the allegations in the draft complaint", according to the Times.

The Times story reports that the settlement it reported on today was at least the sixth "and by far the largest" made by either O'Reilly or 21 Century Fox to settle harassment claims. "The Times ignored that evidence, sworn under oath, and chose to rely on unsubstantiated allegations, anonymous sources and incomplete leaked or stolen documents". Fredric S. Newman, O'Reilly's lawyer, said the company was eager to have the host stay on after the departure of Megyn Kelly, another of the most popular Fox News personalities, and initiated the negotiations.

Mr. O'Reilly told The New York Times that he had been receiving threatening messages during his time at Fox News and was forwarding some of the material to Ms. Wiehl since she was one of his attorneys, according to the report.

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