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Another woman has come forward with a sexual harassment claim against Fox News host Bill O’Reilly. She also accused O’Reilly of racial harassment. The African-American woman claims that O’Reilly called her “hot chocolate” while working for another network.
Back on April 1, The New York Times reported that Fox News and O’Reilly reached settlements with five women who accused O’Reilly of sexual harassment. The settlements totaled $13 million.
O’Reilly has denied the claims, telling the Times that he only settled them to avoid negative publicity and hurting his family.
Here’s what you need to know about O’Reilly’s new accuser.
1. The Accuser Claims O’Reilly Called her ‘Hot Chocolate’
Attorney Lisa Bloom broke the news on Twitter, confirming that she represents a new woman who called the Fox News hotline.
“I represent a new woman who just phoned in a complaint of sexual and racial harassment against Bill O’Reilly to the Fox News hotline,” Bloom wrote.
Later, Bloom gave The Hollywood Reporter details on the accusation, but did not reveal the woman’s name. She says the woman, who worked at a different network at the time, was called “hot chocolate” by O’Reilly in 2008.
“He would never talk to her, not even hello, except to grunt at her like a wild boar,” Bloom told The Hollywood Reporter. “He would leer at her. He would always do this when no one else was around and she was scared.”
Bloom told THR that she spoke with three other witnesses who knew the woman in 2008. They told Bloom that she often came home stressed after work. Even though she didn’t work for O’Reilly, the accuser said she worked near his office and feared she’d lose her job if she came forward.
“Now that’s shes aware this is all in the news, she’s decided to phone in a complaint to the Fox News hotline,” Bloom told THR. The attorney added that another woman is expected to come forward.
Bloom also represents Dr. Wendy Walsh, one of the other women who have come forward. Walsh, who was a contributor to The O’Reilly Factor, told the New York Times in April that O’Reilly promised to make her a permanent contributor, but he never followed through after she rejected his sexual advances in 2013.
Wlash never filed a complaint and Bloom has said that she’s not looking for money. Bloom called for Fox to begin an independent investigation into Walsh’s allegation, hiring the law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison.
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2. O’Reilly Has Denied All Claims, but the Murdochs Are Leaning Towards Firing Him
Despite reaching settlements with five different women, O’Reilly denied the claims in a statement to the New York Times. He said that he reached the agreements to avoid negative publicity and to spare his children from controversy.
“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,” O’Reilly told the Times.
“We are now seriously considering legal action to defend Mr. O’Reilly’s reputation,” Frederic S. Newman, a lawyer for O’Reilly, told the Times.
O’Reilly’s contract with Fox News was renewed, but sources have told New York Magazine that James and Lachlan Murdoch are leaning towards firing O’Reilly even though their father Rupert Murdoch wants O’Reilly to stay. The Murdoch brothers are considering letting O’Reilly go after his vacation ends, in part because of the dozens of advertisers who have left The O’Reilly Factor.
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3. Bloom Says Fox News Will Investigate Walsh’s Claims
In their statement to the Times on April 1, 21st Century Fox (Fox News’ parent company) said that no one has ever used their hotline to lodge a formal complaint against O’Reilly. Walsh finally did contact the hotline on April 5, 2017, with Bloom by her side.
After that call, Bloom confirmed to CNN that Fox News plans on investigating Walsh’s claims.
“I’m told that they are taking it seriously, and they are going to do the investigation that’s legally required of them,” Bloom told CNN.
On April 9, The Times reported that Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison will investigate the claim. “21st Century Fox investigates all complaints and we have asked the law firm Paul Weiss to continue assisting the company in these serious matters,” Fox told the Times.
Bloom’s new client came to her after contacting the Fox News hotline, according to the lawyer.
4. Other O’Reilly Accusers Include Fox News Anchors & Producers
According to the Times, the five women O’Reilly and Fox News reached settlements are Rachel Witlieb Bernstein, Andrea Mackris, Rebecca Gomez Diamond, Laure Dhue and Juliet Huddy.
Bernstein was a junior producer at the time she reached a settlement in 2002. Mackris was a producer on The O’Reilly Factor when she settled in 2004. Diamond, Dhue and Huddy were all on-air talent who reached settlements in 2011, 2016 and 2016, respectively.
5. Former Fox News CEO Roger Ailes Also Faced Sexual Harassment Claims Before Resigning Last Summer
O’Reilly isn’t the only major Fox News figure to face sexual harassment claims. In July 2016, Fox News CEO Roger Ailes resigned after Gretchen Carlson filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against her. Several other Fox News personalities filed lawsuits against Ailes, including Julie Roginsky in April.
Ailes has also denied all allegations and received a $40 million golden parachute when he resigned. Fox News later reached a settlement with Carlson, reportedly worth $20 million.
is entertainment and news contributor to Heavy, and former editor at TheCelebrityCafe.com. Graduate of Hofstra University, plus classic movie and Star Wars geek. Follow him on Twitter at @dsl89 and contact him at email@example.com.
April 18, 2017 2:56 pm