Wiehl's $32 million deal is more than any other known sexual harassment settlements at Fox News.
The Fox News Channel says the company knew a news analyst planned to file a sexual harassment lawsuit against O'Reilly when it renewed the popular personality's contract in February 2017.
"It's politically and financially motivated", O'Reilly told the New York Times "And we can prove it with shocking information, but I'm not going to sit here in a courtroom for a year and a half and let my kids get beaten up every single day of their lives by a tabloid press that would sit there, and you know it". "The company subsequently acted based on the terms of this contract", they said of what became O'Reilly's well paid out firing in April of this year from the already deeply tainted once Roger Ailes run cabler.
As part of the settlement, Wiehl agreed to destroy messages and photos from O'Reilly that could back up her complaints, and to keep silent on the issue, the newspaper reported. Neither Fox nor 21st Century acknowledged the settlement with Wiehl at the time O'Reilly was sacked. The producer was sacked by his own company earlier this month after the Times revealed three decades of alleged sexual harassment and assault by Weinstein.
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The paper reports Wiehl's attorneys sent a draft of a lawsuit to O'Reilly on January 2, and the parties reached a settlement a few days later.
In its first article about Mr. O'Reilly on April 1, The New York Times printed inaccurate settlement figures while fully understanding that O'Reilly and his counsel are legally bound by confidentiality and can not set the record straight. They negotiated over the course of a few days and eventually reached an settlement, seen by The Times, promising $32 million paid out over a period of time in exchange for Ms. Wiehl's silence, the report said. The five agreements reportedly amounted to $13 million, and included a 2004 payment by O'Reilly to a former Fox producer named Andrea Mackris for $9 million.
The disclosure of the Wiehl settlement follows a string of sexual assault allegations against Hollywood film mogul Harvey Weinstein, including accusations of rape, that sparked a global conversation about harassment in the film industry and beyond. At the time, the company had undertaken internal steps to root out and address complaints of employee harassment.
Bill O'Reilly attends the Hollywood Reporter's 2016 35 Most Powerful People in Media at Four Seasons Restaurant on April 6, 2016 in New York City. When the charges against him first appeared, O'Reilly also found an ally in fellow alleged groper President Trump, who said "I don't think Bill did anything wrong".