“An attorney for one of the women who accused Fox News host Bill O’Reilly of sexual harassment is calling for an independent investigation into the network,” CNN reports.
According to the story, “Lisa Bloom, a civil rights attorney and advocate, made the appeal on CNN’s ‘Reliable Sources’ on Sunday.” Bloom then referred to Fox News as “the Bill Cosby of corporate America. Women over and over again are driven out.”
CNN is a competitor to Fox News. Bloom’s client is Wendy Walsh, a doctor of psychology and radio host in Los Angeles. She is also a former contributor to O’Reilly’s popular Fox News program “The O’Reilly Factor.”
Walsh was one of the women written about on Saturday, April 1, 2017 in a New York Times piece titled “Bill O’Reilly Thrives at Fox News, Even as Harassment Settlements Add Up.”
The Times story begins, “For nearly two decades, Bill O’Reilly has been Fox News’s top asset, building the No. 1 program in cable news for a network that has pulled in billions of dollars in revenues for its parent company, 21st Century Fox.
“Behind the scenes, the company has repeatedly stood by Mr. O’Reilly as he faced a series of allegations of sexual harassment or other inappropriate behavior.
“An investigation by The New York Times has found a total of five women who have received payouts from either Mr. O’Reilly or the company in exchange for agreeing to not pursue litigation or speak about their accusations against him. The agreements totaled about $13 million.”
The Wall Street Journal, in its follow-up to the Times story, noted that O’Reilly’s contract with Fox News, which was due to expire at the end of this year, has been renewed. Wrote The Journal, “The recent review of the allegations against Mr. O’Reilly was taken into consideration when the network negotiated a new contract with the anchor, a person familiar with the matter said.”
The WSJ also noted that “According to a person familiar with the settlements, Mr. O’Reilly paid $10 million and the company $3 million.”
The Wall Street Journal, like Fox News, is owned by Rupert Murdoch.
It has been previously written by various media outlets that O’Reilly pulls down a salary of between $18 million and $20 million annually from Fox News.
O’Reilly responded to the Times story with this statement, which he also posted on his website:
“Just like other prominent and controversial people, I’m vulnerable to lawsuits from individuals who want me to pay them to avoid negative publicity. In my more than 20 years at Fox News Channel, no one has ever filed a complaint about me with the Human Resources Department, even on the anonymous hotline.
“But most importantly, I’m a father who cares deeply for my children and who would do anything to avoid hurting them in any way. And so I have put to rest any controversies to spare my children.
“The worst part of my job is being a target for those who would harm me and my employer, the Fox News Channel. Those of us in the arena are constantly at risk, as are our families and children. My primary efforts will continue to be to put forth an honest TV program and to protect those close to me.”
Bloomberg reports the response of 21st Century Fox: “‘21st Century Fox takes matters of workplace behavior very seriously,’ a company spokesman said in a statement. ‘Notwithstanding the fact that no current or former Fox News employee ever took advantage of the 21st Century Fox hotline to raise a concern about Bill O’Reilly, even anonymously, we have looked into these matters over the last few months and discussed them with Mr. O’Reilly.’
“The company added: ‘While he denies the merits of these claims, Mr. O’Reilly has resolved those he regarded as his personal responsibility. Mr. O’Reilly is fully committed to supporting our efforts to improve the environment for all our employees at Fox News.’”