Fox News’ former commentator, Bill O’Reilly, received a new contract from the parent company in February 2017. The move came as a slight shock to the industry since O’Reilly had recently settled a sexual harassment case.
The case in question was made by former Fox legal analyst, Lis Wiehl. The case was settled for $32million in early 2017. While the case had not been made public, the network admits that it was aware of the charges faced by O’Reilly.
However, the network claims that it did not know the exact figure of the settlement awarded to Wiehl.
Despite being aware of the charges made against O’Reilly, 21st Century Fox offered him a $25 million a year, four year contract.
Attempting to defend its position, Fox released a statement saying it was aware of the sexual harassment lawsuit.
It also stated that the network had been informed by O’Reilly that, “he had settled the matter personally on financial terms”. Fox added that the O’Reilly and Wiehl had agreed to keep the matter confidential.
This is not the first time the network has stood behind the disgraced commentator.
The settlement with Wiehl is the sixth allegation to be agreed on by either the network of Mr. O’Reilly. However, it is certainly the largest.
Although he has agreed to pay the amount ordered by the court, O’Reilly continues to deny any wrongdoing.
In a statement made to the New York Times he said, “I have never mistreated anyone”. He added that he had only resolved matters to spare his children from controversy.
After the allegations hit the public eye, he was forced to resign from his post in April, 2017.
Wiehl, was an employee of Fox for close to 15 years and had appeared regularly on the show The O’Reilly Factor. She left the network immediately after the settlement.