Former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly secretly settled a sexual harassment allegation with a network contributor for $32 million — the largest, by far, of six such agreements that eventually toppled the outspoken commentator, according to a new report.
The New York Times said Bill O’Reilly agreed to the settlement in January with Lis Wiehl, a longtime legal analyst at Fox who had worked with O’Reilly and had once offered him legal advice.
.. O’Reilly declined to discuss details of the settlement with Wiehl, citing a confidentiality agreement. But he said he agreed to settle “to protect my children from the horror” of continuing adverse publicity had Wiehl’s allegations been litigated in court.
.. “That’s it,” O’Reilly said. “I knew if I took this to court there would be three years of unrelenting headlines. That’s why I did it.”
.. O’Reilly spokesman Mark Fabiani released an affidavit on Saturday in which Wiehl acknowledged that O’Reilly forwarded her emails that had been sent to him, apparently while seeking legal advice from her about what to do about them.
.. Fabiani said 21st Century had paid out “close to $100 million” to “dozens of women” who had alleged harassment by other men at the network.
.. O’Reilly personally paid two of these five settlements. Fox News paid the other three.