Court TV anchor Lisa Bloom’s background in sexual harassment cases and her energetic defense of the legal position of Andrea Mackris, the producer who charged Fox News Channel star Bill O’Reilly with sexual harassment, made her a popular TV guest during the scrimmage that settled out of court last Thursday. It also made her the subject of gossipy reports in the New York tabloids.
Ms. Bloom talked to TelevisionWeek’s Michele Greppi about life in the media, these interesting legal times and becoming the subject of speculation that she intervened between Ms. Mackris and Mr. O’Reilly.
TelevisionWeek: You entered the public eye as a child of the public eye. You are the daughter of well-known attorney Gloria Allred; the combination of law and media spotlight seems to be in your genes. How did that shape your dreams of what you wanted to do?
Lisa Bloom: My mother is my No. 1 role model. She taught me not to be afraid to speak truth to power, to always stand up for what’s right, to make up my own mind about what’s right and then to move forward on that basis. My mother persuaded me to go to law school. I was thinking about being a social worker at the time and working with abused children and I ended up going to law school primarily so that as a practicing lawyer I could represent abused children. That was one of my primary areas of practice, along with sexual harassment, civil rights law, race and sex discrimination, rape cases-always on the side of the powerless person, usually against an individual or an entity with tremendous resources on the other side.
TVWeek: Is this a particularly interesting time in your career?
Ms. Bloom: I would say so, because there are so many high-profile cases that are on the cutting edge of the law that are of enormous public interest. For example, the Bill O’Reilly case, the Scott Peterson case, Martha Stewart, Kobe Bryant, Robert Blake. Each and every one of them is fascinating.
TVWeek: There have been published reports that you served as a go-between, reaching out on behalf of Andrea Mackris, in talks about a possible settlement.
Ms. Bloom: First of all, any reports that I was a broker or I attempted to be a broker are absolutely false. I am an analyst. I am a commentator. I’ve analyzed the facts and given my opinion on every high-profile case in this country in the past 31/2 years since I came to Court TV. This case is no different. The only slight difference might be that because I have a particular expertise in the area of sexual harassment, as soon as this story broke I was called on a very high number of shows to comment, which I did. But under no circumstances was I a broker. That would be inappropriate as a journalist for me to do that, and I have not done that.
TVWeek: The case does seem to strike a nerve in you.
Ms. Bloom: Well, I am a passionate person on-air and off-air, and if you looked at any of my appearances on other cases over the last three years, especially cases involving sexual harassment, or sexual assault, like the Kobe Bryant case, like the Michael Jackson case, I think you would see an equal level of energy on my side. I suppose that energy comes out especially when I feel that arguments are being made against me that are just flat-out wrong. For example, when someone says that sexual harassment plaintiff doesn’t have a claim if she voluntarily returned to the workplace. That’s just flat-out wrong as a matter of law.
TVWeek: There also was a New York tabloid report that said you were booked to talk about the O’Reilly case on “The Abrams Report” on Oct. 20 on MSNBC but that you left before your segment was up.
Ms. Bloom: I have been on the Abrams show many, many times. I was booked on that show from 6 to 6:15 and I was ready at 6 o’clock. Six o’clock came and went. Six-fifteen came and went. I had to leave at 6:15. Nobody had told me they would need me later than that, which is normally the way it works on these shows. If the time changes, they let you know. Nobody told me that the time had changed. I was told by a Court TV staffer that our satellite went down at 6:15. I said, `I’m sorry, I have to go.’ And that was the end of it. The recent attacks on me [are] completely false. I’ve been taking controversial positions in high-profile cases every day for 31/2 years. This is the first time I have been personally attacked. You can draw your own conclusions about why it is in this case unnamed sources-it’s always unnamed sources-leak negative, false information about me only in this case.
Editor’s note: MSNBC said O’Reilly attorney Ron Green was scheduled to appear at the top of the show and Ms. Bloom was to rebut at 6:20, but that she left right before her segment was scheduled to start. An MSNBC spokesperson said that “Abrams” staffers either heard or saw Ms. Bloom “pull out her earpiece and leave and then the screen went black. She was booked for a 6:20 hit, according to our producers.” The spokesperson also said the connection between Court TV in Manhattan and MSNBC was not via satellite but by fiber-optic line.
TVWeek: What would anyone gain by leaking false stories about you?
Ms. Bloom: I’ll leave it to others to conclude why others would make up false stories, but it’s no secret that I’ve been on the air taking certain positions in this case.