Bill O'Reilly Reportedly Paid $32 Million Settlement in Sexual Harassment Suit

Even so, 21st Century Fox reportedly began contract negotiations with O'Reilly, Fox News' most lucrative host, and agreed to a four-year, extended contract paying him $25 million a year.

(UPDATED with statement from 21st Century Fox) Bill O'Reilly struck a $32 million sexual harassment payment with a Fox News network analyst before his contract with 21st Century Fox was granted a four-year extension, according to a bombshell New York Times story posted on the news organization's website today. According to the Times, O'Reilly is accused of repeated harassment, a nonconsensual sexual relationship, and the transmission of sexually explicit material, including gay porn, to Wiehl.

Mr. O'Reilly told The New York Times that he had been receiving threatening messages during his time at Fox News and was forwarding some of the material to Ms. Wiehl since she was one of his attorneys, according to the report.

It was at least the sixth agreement - and by far the largest - made by either Mr. O'Reilly or the company to settle harassment allegations against him.

Gretchen Carlson, who received $20 million past year after claims against Fox News CEO Roger Ailes, tweeted her take on the matter: "Nobody pays $32m for false allegations - nobody".

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The money involved in O'Reilly's case is also exceptional; the $32 million the network dished out eclipsed Gretchen Carlson's $20 million settlement against Roger Ailes and singlehandedly dwarfed the amount of O'Reilly's other five publicly known settlements.

The revelation that Bill O'Reilly paid $32 million to a former Fox News colleague is shocking only in the settlement's size and and timing. The TImes added that O'Reilly was due for a custody hearing with his son later in January, while Fox News was trying to keep O'Reilly with the network in the wake of Megyn Kelly's departure.

The New York Times reported details of the settlement on Saturday, which was previously unknown to the reporters who had uncovered a string of sexual harassment claims against the popular host of The O'Reilly Factor.

Fox News is already under investigation by the US Department of Justice for its handling of harassment complaints, and the new reporting by the Times raises questions about the Murdochs' handling of their company.

  • Michelle Webb