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23 October 2017, 04:39 | Gordon Grant
Demonstrator Matt Mitchell holds a sign outside of the News Corp. and Fox News headquarters April 19 in midtown
The New York Times reported on Saturday that in January, Fox News paid $32 million to settle a previously undisclosed allegation of sexual harassment against Bill O'Reilly, just weeks before the network agreed to a contract with O'Reilly that would pay him $25 million a year. The New York Times reported Saturday the company renewed the TV host's contract after he reached a $32 million settlement with the analyst.
Mr. O'Reilly learned on January 2 that Ms. Wiehl meant to sue him for sexual harassment, according to The New York Times report.
"His new contract, which was made at a time typical for renewals of multi-year talent contracts, added protections for the company specifically aimed at harassment, including that Mr. O'Reilly could be dismissed if the company was made aware of other allegations or if additional relevant information was obtained in a company investigation". She left at the time of the settlement.
The media company, which is owned by Rupert Murdoch, was aware of the payment to legal analyst Lis Wiehl when they renewed Mr O'Reilly's four year agreement in February, according to an expose by the New York Times.
The Times reached out to O'Reilly himself for comment, and he was predictably combative, telling the interviewer, "This is frightful, it's disgusting what I went through, awful what my family went through". But he said he agreed to settle "to protect my children from the horror" of continuing adverse publicity had Wiehl's allegations been litigated in court.
"In its latest diatribe against Bill O'Reilly, the Times printed leaked information provided by anonymous sources that is out of context, false, defamatory, and obviously created to embarrass Bill O'Reilly and to keep him from competing in the marketplace", O'Reilly spokesperson, Mark Fabiani, said in response Saturday.
Ms. Wiehl agreed to destroy all communications between her and Mr. O'Reilly and eventually signed an affidavit dated January 17 retracting the allegations and promising not to sue, the report said.
But they ousted O'Reilly, 67, in April after some of his other settlements became public.
Weinstein, 65, who was sacked by production company Miramax and suspended by the board of the Oscars, has denied having non-consensual sex with anyone. O'Reilly was not only the network's marquee attraction, but his program was the single largest source of advertising revenue for Fox News, which is the most consistent profit center for 21st Century.
Mr. O'Reilly told The New York Times that he had been receiving threatening messages during his time at Fox News and was forwarding some of the material to Ms. Wiehl since she was one of his attorneys, according to the report. Fox News paid the other three.
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