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Bill O'Reily, Fox News Sued for Disparaging Female Accuser

Bill O'Reily, Fox News Sued for Disparaging Female Accuser

"O'Reilly portrayed himself as a "target" and claimed the complaints against him were extortionate", the suit read. "It is cowardly to publicly attack these women knowing they have been subjected to contractual provisions requiring absolute silence".

The lawsuit, filed in NY federal court, accuses O'Reilly and Fox News of defamation and breach of contract stemming from a 2002 settlement between them and former Fox News producer Rachel Witlieb Bernstein. As the New York Times explains, these types of settlements typically include iron-clad confidentiality and nondisparagement clauses. He abused Ms. Bernstein. O'Reilly's attorney and Fox News could not immediately be reached for comment.

O'Reilly left the network in April after the Times in an investigation revealed that either Fox News or the television host paid approximately $13 million to five women to settle harassment allegations.

When the New York Times presented the Bernstein case alongside four other accusers, O'Reilly lashed out at his predicament.




"Fox News has been aware of complaints about inappropriate behavior by Mr. O'Reilly since at least 2002, when Mr. O'Reilly stormed into the newsroom and screamed at a young producer, according to current and former employees, some of whom witnessed the incident".

After that story ran, O'Reilly said in a statement to the Times that he is "vulnerable to lawsuits from individuals who want me to pay them to avoid negative publicity", and claimed that "no one has ever filed a complaint" to human resources or called the anonymous hotline about him in his more than 20 years at Fox. In the Times's April report, the news network claimed that they maintained an employee hotline and that no one had used the hotline to report O'Reilly (O'Reilly has repeated this claim as well). "She was forced out of her job at Fox News and paid a settlement because of his mistreatment". Fox News took no action to protect plaintiff from O'Reilly. "She was not politically or financially motivated to raise the claims of abuse". That she apparently got nowhere isn't a surprise: The HR department at the time was a captive hive of Fox News chief Roger Ailes, who was ousted in summer 2016 over sexual-harassment claims and died in May.

That line, and in addition other open proclamations, spoke to a break of his settlement manage Bernstein, she claims in Manhattan Federal Court.