Bill O’Reilly agreed to pay a sixth sexual harassment accuser $32million in an astronomical settlement in January, weeks before signing a new $100million contract with Fox, it has been revealed.
The revelation was made on Saturday in a report by The New York Times which describes for the first time the allegations against O’Reilly by Lis Wiehl, a former Fox News legal analyst who regularly appeared on his show.
According to the Times, her complaints included claims of repeated harassment, a non-consensual sexual relationship and the sending of gay pornography and other sexually explicit material to her.
He and the network had already settled the claims of five other women who made similar allegations.
As part of their deal, O’Reilly agreed to pay 56-year-old Wiehl $32million over a period of time in exchange for her silence and agreement to never sue him or 21st Century Fox. She also signed an affidavit renouncing all the allegations against him.
21st Century Fox knew about her complaints and her threat to sue O’Reilly but was assured by the star and his lawyer that they would handle it personally.
Once he had reached his deal with Wiehl, O’Reilly’s accusers told the network it had been settled but did not disclose the cash amount he agreed to pay her.
Weeks later, it offered O’Reilly a record-breaking contract extension which earned him $25million a year over four years.
The huge sum was an effort to ensure he would stay at the network which was still reeling from the scandal engulfing ousted chairman Roger Ailes and the departure of Megyn Kelly, one of its biggest stars.
O’Reilly’s agreement with Wiehl brings the total number of settlements given to women who have accused him of sexual misconduct to six and the total reported amount of cash paid out to around $45million.