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Fox Settled $32 Million Harassment Case Against O'Reilly

Fox Settled $32 Million Harassment Case Against O'Reilly

Fox News parent company 21st Century Fox renewed Bill O'Reilly's contract in February even though company officials knew he'd settled a sexual harassment claim for $32 million the previous month, The New York Times reports.

Bill O'Reilly agreed to pay $32 million to resolve sexual harassment claims lodged by a frequent guest of his former Fox News program, The New York Times reported Saturday - an enormous, previously undisclosed settlement reached weeks before the disgraced pundit received a pay raise from the network's parent company.

According to the NYT, O'Reilly's actions in the Wiehl matter took the form of "allegations of repeated harassment, a nonconsensual sexual relationship and the sending of gay pornography and other sexually explicit material to her, according to the people briefed on the matter".

"This is crap, and you know it", O'Reilly told the Times, when asked about the settlement.

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.

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".

The amount that O'Reilly settled for - $32 million - and the fact that Fox still re-upped O'Reilly's after the fact, despite not knowing the details of the settlement at the time, is what made the story so big. O'Reilly has dismissed the charges as baseless, telling the Times that they are "politically and financially motivated". O'Reilly hotly denied the circumstances around the settlement.

Fox News did not immediately respond to TPM's request for comment.

Fox granted O'Reilly the new contract last February after booting chairman Roger Ailes just seven months earlier in wake of multiple sexual harassment accusations against him. 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. 'It's done as a way to put a hammer over the individual who signs so they will never come forward and disclose the allegations, ' she said.