In news that will surprise very few who are familiar with Fox News, a new report by The New York Times claims that the network knew about Bill O’Reilly’s sexual harassment settlements before they renewed his contract.
In case you thought Fox News didn’t care about the allegations against Bill O’Reilly, though, bear in mind that they actually worked his reputation into his contract, which they renegotiated to allowed them to can him if new allegations came to light.
Fox News released a statement to The Hollywood Reporter defending the move.
“When the company renewed Bill O’Reilly’s contract in February, it knew that a sexual harassment lawsuit had been threatened against him by Lis Wiehl, but was informed by Mr. O’Reilly that he had settled the matter personally, on financial terms that he and Ms. Wiehl had agreed were confidential and not disclosed to the company,” the statement read. :His new contract, which was made at a time typical for renewals of multi-year talent contracts, added protections for the company specifically aimed at harassment, including that Mr. O’Reilly could be dismissed if the company was made aware of other allegations or if additional relevant information was obtained in a company investigation.”
“The company subsequently acted based on the terms of this contract,” the statement continued. “21st Century Fox has taken concerted action to transform Fox News, including installing new leaders, overhauling management and on-air talent, expanding training, and increasing the channels through which employees can report harassment or discrimination.”
Here’s hoping those transformations stick and that the company doesn’t go back to its old ways of firing the women who have the nerve to come forward as victims of harassment from the likes of Bill O’Reilly.