The parent company of Fox News says it knew about a settlement over sexual harassment allegations against Bill O'Reilly by an on-air analyst before the company extended the ex-host's $25 million contract in February.
According to the NYT, O'Reilly's actions in the Wiehl matter took the form of "allegations of repeated harassment, a nonconsensual sexual relationship and the sending of gay pornography and other sexually explicit material to her, according to the people briefed on the matter".
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Given the attention that Fox News hosts have paid to the Weinstein story, it will be interesting to see whether O'Reilly's massive settlement receives much, or any, coverage from the network's primetime opinionators and moralists.
It was at least the sixth agreement - and by far the largest - made by either Mr. O'Reilly or the company to settle harassment allegations against him. O'Reilly has dismissed the charges as baseless, telling the Times that they are "politically and financially motivated". O'Reilly denied doing anything improper in an interview with the Times. O'Reilly hasn't exactly been exiled from Fox News either - he recently appeared on Sean Hannity's show, where he lamented not fighting harder to keep his job. O'Reilly was sacked in April, after the Times reported five women were paid a collective $13 million to stay silent about their harassment allegations against him. O'Reilly's record-breaking contract came just months after the Murdochs pushed out Roger Ailes, who built the network into the cultural force it is today, over allegations of Ailes's own longtime pattern of alleged sexual impropriety. 'It's done as a way to put a hammer over the individual who signs so they will never come forward and disclose the allegations, ' she said.