Immediately after Fox News and host Bill O’Reilly were reported to have reached a multi-million-dollar settlement over sexual harassment claims against O’Reilly, another news account said Fox has renewed O’Reilly’s contract.
The Wall Street Journal reported Saturday that O’Reilly’s contract had been renewed. Fox did not comment on the report. O’Reilly’s current contract, which reportedly pays him $18 million per year, ends in June.
Although the Journal reported O’Reilly provided $10 million of what was reportedly a $13 million settlement, O’Reilly denied wrongdoing.
“Just like other prominent and controversial people, I’m vulnerable to lawsuits from individuals who want me to pay them to avoid negative publicity,” the statement read. “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,” he said.
“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,” he wrote.
Fox issued its own statement in response to a New York Times story that reported on the settlements.
“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,” the company statement read.
“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,” the statement said.
The Times story detailed allegations against O’Reilly, prompting a statement from O’Reilly’s lawyer, Fredric S. Newman.
“We are now seriously considering legal action to defend Mr. O’Reilly’s reputation,” he said.
The Times report also noted that the allegations against O’Reilly come in the context of sexual harassment allegations that led to the ouster for former Fox CEO Roger Ailes. Former Fox host Andrea Tantaros is among those who still have cases pending against Fox separate from the cases Fox has already settled..
O’Reilly, 67, has been the top-rated host in cable news for the past 15 years.
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