Former Fox TV host Bill O’Reilly settled a huge sexual harassment claim just weeks before signing a massive new contract.
According to The New York Times O’Reilly paid around 27 million euros to Lis Wiehl. The ex-legal expert often appeared on his prime time TV show.
O’Reilly lost his job in April after a raft of sexual harassment allegations. In a statement, 21st Century Fox admitted it knew about
the settlement in January but not the sum, saying the presenter had settled the matter personally. It added, the terms had been kept
confidential and not disclosed to the company.
The New York Times says it was the sixth payout by O’Reilly or Fox to settle allegations against him. Some of those law suits are alleged
to have involved former Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes, who was forced out in 2016 amid harassment allegations.
New York Times Journalist Michael S. Schmidt said: “At the time Fox re-signed Mr O’Reilly, it knew about the settlement. It was also trying to make the argument to the public, its employees and its board, that
it had cleaned up work place issues that had arisen under Roger Ailes.”
The disclosures at the TV network follow a string of sexual assault allegations against Hollywood film producer Harvey Weinstein.
Fox says O’Reilly’s latest 85 million euro four year deal included a clause enabling the channel to fire him should more allegations crop up, something the network insists it eventually acted on.
O’Reilly has denied any wrongdoing with his lawyer describing the allegations against the former US TV host as a smear campaign.