Sexual harassment suits: Fox News, TV host settle claims with five women

Fox News host Bill O'Reilly said he had been unfairly targeted because of his public prominence.
Fox News host Bill O'Reilly said he had been unfairly targeted because of his public prominence.PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW YORK • Fox News host Bill O'Reilly and his employer have made payouts totalling about US$13 million (S$18 million) to five women to settle claims of sexual harassment and other inappropriate behaviour, the New York Times reported last Saturday.

Mr O'Reilly said in a statement that he had been unfairly targeted because of his public prominence. "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."

Mr O'Reilly, who hosts The O'Reilly Factor, the network's top-ranked programme, added: "I have put to rest any controversies to spare my children."

Fox News declined to comment.

"While he denies the merits of these claims, Mr O'Reilly has resolved those he regarded as his personal responsibility," Twenty-First Century Fox, the parent company of Fox News, said in a statement.

The report follows heightened scrutiny of the workplace climate at Fox News, the highest-rated cable news network last year in the United States.

Founding chairman Roger Ailes left the company last year after allegations of sexual harassment.

The five women who have received settlements either worked for Mr O'Reilly or appeared as guests on his programme, the New York Times reported.

The largest settlement was a payout of US$9 million in a sexual harassment lawsuit brought by former Fox News producer Andrea Mackris against Mr O'Reilly in 2004, according to the paper.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 03, 2017, with the headline 'Sexual harassment suits: Fox News, TV host settle claims with five women'. Print Edition | Subscribe