As Roger Ailes was in the process of settling his own sexual harassment lawsuits and being ousted as Fox News boss, the conservative network made a secret deal to settle similar allegations against Bill O’Reilly.
Fox News has not been a good work environment for women over the years. Not only have former host Gretchen Carlson and Andrea Tantaros filed lawsuits alleging that Ailes sexually harassed them, they recently lost Megyn Kelly and Greta Van Susteran to NBC.
Determined to stave off another lawsuit, Fox News came to an agreement with former host Juliet Huddy, who says Bill O’Reilly made unwanted advances and abused his power in an effort to force her to comply with his demands.
According to the New York Times,
When she rebuffed his advances, he tried to derail her career, according to a draft of a letter from her lawyers to Fox News…The letter includes allegations that Mr. O’Reilly had called Ms. Huddy repeatedly and that it sometimes sounded like he was masturbating. He invited her to his house on Long Island, tried to kiss her, took her to dinner and the theater, and after asking her to return a key to his hotel room, appeared at the door in his boxer shorts, according to the letter.
In exchange for her silence and agreement not to sue, she was paid a sum in the high six figures, according to people briefed on the agreement.
So Fox News tried to secretly make a deal with Huddy to avoid further public humiliation, allowing Fox News to continue keeping Bill O’Reilly on the air, even though the misconduct he is accused of should have ended his career just like Ailes.
O’Reilly and his attorney maintain that the allegations were false. Yeah, so false that Fox News agreed to settle now rather than prove it in a court of law.
And Huddy isn’t allowed to talk badly about O’Reilly and Fox either as part of the agreement, which is basically a gag order.
As part of Ms. Huddy’s confidential agreement with 21st Century Fox, she agreed not to “disparage, malign or defame” the parties and the company, on its behalf and on the behalf of Mr. O’Reilly and Mr. Abernethy, agreed not to “disparage, malign or defame” Ms. Huddy.
The consequences for breaking the confidentiality of the agreement are severe, costing either side $500,000 per infringement, according to the document. Ms. Huddy is also liable if her lawyers or a person close to her discloses the terms of the agreement.
Huddy isn’t the first woman O’Reilly has treated badly. He has been embroiled in a nasty custody battle with his ex-wife, who revealed that he allegedly abused her. Even Andrea Tantaros alleged in her sexual harassment lawsuit that O’Reilly made unwanted advances toward her.
The bottom line is that Bill O’Reilly has repeatedly gotten away with treating women like shit and now he just got away with it again. Clearly, Megyn Kelly made the right move by taking a new job.
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