Published: Sat, October 21, 2017
Entertaiment | By Paul Elliott

Fox renewed O'Reilly contract despite knowing of allegations

The report claims that the case was settled just 15 days after the complaints were made in January.

Before Bill O'Reilly signed a four-year extension to his contract with Fox News, the host struck a $32 million agreement with a Fox News network analyst to settle new sexual harassment allegations, according to The New York Times. The Times reported that makes six settlements totaling $45 million for O'Reilly, who was sacked (with a golden parachute reportedly worth tens of millions) by Fox in April.

O'Reilly, in a combative interview with the Times, insisted he had done nothing wrong and only settled to spare his children from the publicity surrounding a trial.

"That's it", he said. "I thank each and every one of you who have been so helpful to me over the years. That's why I did it".

21st Century Fox says they knew about the harassment claim, but they chose to renew his contract because O'Reilly assured them the matter had already been dealt with privately and they were unaware of the full scope of the settlement. Neither Fox nor 21st Century acknowledged the settlement with Wiehl at the time O'Reilly was sacked.

O'Reilly denied any wrongdoing in speaking with the Times.

O'Reilly was sacked in April after it was revealed he had paid out $13 million to five women to settle other sexual harassment allegations.

Wiehl alleged that O'Reilly had repeatedly harassed her, had engaged in "a nonconsensual sexual relationship" with her, and had sent gay pornography and other sexually explicit material to her, the paper said.

However, O'Reilly refused to specifically comment on Wiehl.

Fabiani confirmed that Wiehl signed the affidavit after reaching a monetary settlement with O'Reilly.

The $32 million payout to Wiehl is far, far higher than any of the previously known settlements. At the time, the company had undertaken internal steps to root out and address complaints of employee harassment.

Nevertheless, the Murdochs chose to re-sign O'Reilly, despite being aware of his history of settlements, including the one with Wiehl only a month before they began contract renewal talks.

A statement from 21st Century Fox acknowledge they were aware of a threatened lawsuit by Wiehl when they renewed O'Reilly's contract.

Last month O'Reilly returned to Fox for the first time since his ouster - for a highly rated visit to Sean Hannity's show. The new round of harassment allegations also seemed to threaten British approval of 21st Century's multibillion-dollar purchase of Sky Broadcasting, a British-based satellite service.

In an internal memo obtained by Business Insider, Murdoch and his sons, Lachlan and James, said that "after a thorough and careful review of allegations against him, the company and Bill O'Reilly have agreed that Mr. O'Reilly will not return to the Fox News Channel".

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