Following the departure of former Fox News CEO Roger Ailes, who was accused of sexually harassing Gretchen Carlson and numerous other subordinates, 21st Century Fox privately settled claims with a former Fox News host who accused Bill O’Reilly of sexual harassment and misconduct. Before losing custody of his children for allegedly assaulting his wife in front of his daughter, O’Reilly previously settled a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by former Fox producer Andrea Mackris.
According to documents recently obtained by LawNewz, former Fox News host Juliet Huddy accused Bill O’Reilly and Fox News co-president Jack Abernethy of repeated sexual harassment. Shortly after 21st Century Fox settled Carlson’s harassment suit against Ailes for $20 million in September, the parent company of Fox News reached a settlement with Huddy reportedly in the high six figures.
Although O’Reilly and Abernethy deny the allegations, Huddy asserted that O’Reilly began making several unwanted advances in 2011, including kissing her on the lips, dropping his hotel key into her lap, appearing only in his underwear, and calling her on vacation while sounding like he was masturbating. Because Huddy refused his sexual advances, O’Reilly retaliated by constantly berating her work and failing to prepare her segments before going on the air according to her letter of intent.
After allegedly enduring sexual harassment from O’Reilly, Huddy claimed Abernethy also “constantly called her at the office and asking her to come by his office.” Huddy accused Abernethy of trashing her career because she had rejected his desire to pursue a sexual relationship.
Shortly after 21st Century Fox settled Carlson’s suit for $20 million in September, Huddy suddenly announced her resignation from WNYW, a Fox affiliate. According to sources familiar with Huddy’s claims, Fox secretly settled Huddy’s sexual harassment allegations for six figures before she could file the lawsuit.
In 2004, former Fox producer Andrea Mackris sued O’Reilly after he allegedly made unwanted sexual advances and threatening comments. According to the suit, O’Reilly told her to buy a vibrator and incessantly called her while sounding like he was masturbating. The suit was settled for an undisclosed amount.
Last year, O’Reilly lost custody of his children after reports emerged of the Fox News host allegedly grabbing his wife by the throat and dragging her down the stairs in front of his 9-year-old daughter. Despite the fact that Fox executives claimed that sexual harassment would no longer be tolerated following the ouster of Ailes, O’Reilly continues to host his show with seemingly impunity after at least two coworkers have accused him of perpetual harassment.
More than 20 women have accused Ailes of sexual harassment, including Gretchen Carlson, Megyn Kelly, Laurie Luhn, and Andrea Tantaros. After leaving Fox News in September, Ailes advised Donald Trump during his presidential campaign.