Bill O’Reilly: An awful, awful man
By Erik Wemple April 2 at 1:44 PM
Bill O’Reilly. (Richard Drew/Associated Press)
As Fox News last year was plowing through the sexual harassment scandal involving now-former network chief Roger Ailes, King of Cable News Bill O’Reilly couldn’t have been more dismissive of the victims. “In this country, every famous, powerful or wealthy person is a target. You’re a target,” O’Reilly said in a July appearance on “Late Night” with Seth Meyers. “I’m a target. Anytime somebody could come out and sue us, attack us, go to the press or anything like that. … I stand behind Roger 100 percent.”
Roger was the wrong man to stand behind.
Subsequent events would say why: An internal investigation of Fox News turned up a series of complaints regarding Ailes’s conduct toward women. Former host Gretchen Carlson, who kicked off all the action with a lawsuit against Ailes in early July, received a settlement worth $20 million plus a no-nonsense apology from Fox News’s parent company, 21st Century Fox. Ailes was ousted, though he denied the claims against him.
Months after lamenting his status as a “target,” we are learning that O’Reilly was speaking from deep experience. The New York Times reported on Saturday that about $13 million has been dished out over the years — by O’Reilly and his employer — to resolve complaints from women regarding O’Reilly’s antics. The claims shed light on just why O’Reilly and his former boss Ailes fashioned a mutual protection racket on the premises of Fox News: They both needed someone who’d have their back.
Reporting by the New York Times builds on an existing docket of allegations against O’Reilly. We already knew, for instance, that former producer Andrea Mackris had filed a sexual harassment suit against O’Reilly in 2004, alleging all manner of lurid conduct against the top host. She came away with a $9 million settlement, according to the Times. And news broke earlier this year that former employee Juliet Hud