Bill O’Reilly: Fox News Host & Sexual Predator?
Fox News Host &
Fox News anchor Bill O’Reilly is well-known for being the host of the popular conservative talk fest “The O’Reilly Factor.” However, a variety of women at the network say they know of a more sinister side of Bill O’Reilly: sexual predator.
At least 5 female employees at Fox News (who either worked for him or appeared on his show) have come forward telling the same tale of a sick and perverted scheme: that Bill O’Reilly would offer advice and promise to help them professionally, then flip his niceness to pursue a sexual relationship with them. If they rebuffed his advances, they were punished. More times than not and out of fear for their jobs, they simply allowed him to get away with it.
According to The New York Times, the women, who all either worked for O’Reilly or appeared on his top-rated television program, “complained about a wide range of behavior, including verbal abuse, lewd comments, unwanted advances and phone calls in which it sounded as if Mr. O’Reilly was masturbating.” Despite having access to a Fox hotline that was set up to anonymously report such behavior, each of the women said they believed their phones were being monitored and were gravely in fear of their jobs.
Now, The New York Times is reporting that the 5 women have been collectively paid $13 million dollars by O’Reilly and parent company 21st Century Fox to keep their mouths shut about the inappropriate behavior and simply go away. They include Rachel Witlieb Bernstein, a junior Fox News producer; Andrea Mackris, an O’Reilly Factor producer; Rebecca Gomez Diamond, a Fox Business Network host; Laurie Dhue, a Fox News anchor; Juliet Huddy, an on-air Fox News personality who regularly appeared on O’Reilly’s show; Wendy Walsh, a former guest on The O’Reilly Factor; and Andrea Tantaros, a former Fox News host.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: We decided to list the identities of the women because their names were recently made public, and because it was important to give credibility to their claims by the importance of their titles and positions within the network)
For years, the network allegedly turned a blind eye to O’Reilly’s unwelcome sexual advances because he’s a huge money-maker for Fox. O’Reilly is currently the network’s most profitable personality, attracting an average of 4 million viewers per night. In fact, O’Reilly generated more than $446 million in ad revenue for the network from 2014 to 2016.
Despite his ratings gold success, at least 9 major advertising companies responsible for keeping Fox on air staged a revolt on Tuesday and began pulling their ads from his prime-time cable news show. They include Mercedes-Benz; Hyundai; BMW of North America; GlaxoSmithKline; T. Rowe Price; Allstate; Constant Contact; Untuckit (men’s clothing distributor); and Sanofi Consumer HealthCare. The advertisers have gone on record to make it clear they will neither tolerate nor support sexual harassment against women.
21st Century Fox takes matters of workplace behavior very seriously. Notwithstanding the fact that no current or former Fox News employee ever took advantage of the 21st Century Fox hotline to raise a concern about Bill O’Reilly, even anonymously, we have looked into these matters over the last few months and discussed them with Mr. O’Reilly. While he denies the merits of these claims, Mr. O’Reilly has resolved those he regarded as his personal responsibility. Mr. O’Reilly is fully committed to supporting our efforts to improve the environment for all our employees at Fox News.
– 21st Century Fox
Interestingly, Fox is still reeling from similar claims of sexual harassment against former Fox News honcho Roger Ailes, who was fired for his inappropriate behavior toward former on-air personality Gretchen Carlson. Now, it appears to be déjà vu for Fox.
As for Bill O’Reilly, he is denying the claims of sexual harassment against him from the women — although he is not denying the payouts made to each of them.
Just like other prominent and controversial people. I’m vulnerable to lawsuits from individuals who want me to pay them to avoid negative publicity. In my more than 20 years at Fox News Channel, no one has ever filed a complaint about me with the Human Resources Department, even on the anonymous hotline. But most importantly, I’m a father who cares deeply for my children and who would do anything to avoid hurting them in any way. And so I have put to rest any controversies to spare my children. The worst part of my job is being a target for those who would harm me and my employer, the Fox News Channel. Those of us in the arena are constantly at risk, as are our families and children. My primary efforts will continue to be to put forth an honest TV program and to protect those close to me.
– Bill O’Reilly
Not surprisingly, Donald Trump raced to defend O’Reilly on Wednesday, calling him “a good person” while adding, “I don’t think Bill did anything wrong.” Sure, Donald!
Many female employees at Fox News believe that influential hosts like O’Reilly have all the leverage. However, with marketing companies leaving him by the droves and with valuable ad dollars quickly beginning to evaporate, the tenure of Bill O’Reilly could soon be coming to an unceremonious end.