It turns out Roger Ailes wasn't the only one accused of sexual harassment at Fox News—documents obtained by the New York Times show that host Bill O'Reilly may have done some sexual harassing of his own. Why is this somehow not surprising?
According to New York Times, Fox News secretly settled with Juliet Huddy, an on-air personality, after she accused Bill O'Reilly of sexual harassment, starting in 2011. At the time, O'Reilly held sway over Huddy's career, and after she rejected his advances, he tried to derail her professionally. (She claims that Jack Abernathy, a Fox News executive, did the same thing after she turned him down, too.)
The report was based on several documents (a letter from Huddy's lawyer to Fox News and three pages of a draft of the settlement agreement), as well as interviews with current and former Fox News employees. According to the letter, O'Reilly called Huddy often, and it sounded like he was masturbating in some of the calls (ewwww). He also invited her to his Long Island home, tried to kiss her, and once opened the door to a hotel room wearing just underwear. Classy!
In response to Huddy's refusal to get involved with him on a personal or sexual level, the letter claims that O'Reilly “nitpicked her work” and "berate[d] Ms. Huddy for minor mistakes." He apparently stopped preparing her for segments, sprang news angles they hadn't previously discussed on her during segments, and was eventually replaced on his show altogether. She was also featured in another segment that was quickly canceled, but she didn't say anything to other Fox News employees at the time because she was afraid of "retaliation."
The settlement, which was between Fox News' parent company, 21st Century Fox, and Juliet Huddy, paid Huddy an amount somewhere in the "high six figures" to keep quiet about the harassment. Bill O'Reilly's lawyer and 21st Century Fox claim that Huddy's accusations are false. A spokesperson for Fox News, Irena Briganti, told the Times, “The letter contains substantial falsehoods, which both men have vehemently denied."
This isn't the first time Bill O'Reilly has been accused of sexual harassment—in 2004, one of his show's producers, Andrea Mackris, sued O'Reilly, claiming that he'd made unwanted advances and also telephoned her while masturbating (again, ewww. So much ew). That case was also settled, with O'Reilly paying Mackris "millions of dollars."