A new report that alleges Bill O’Reilly paid five women claiming to be sexually harassed by him, was published on Saturday. O’Reilly’s news show, ‘The O’Reilly Factor’ is the most-watched news program in the US and despite the allegations, Fox News Channel has reportedly decided to renew O’Reilly’s contract.
After an investigation by the New York Times, the publication reported that it had found at least five women who claimed to have been victims of sexual harassment by O’Reilly. According to the New York Times, the amount paid out to these women, in exchange for their silence and an agreement to not pursue litigation, totaled to around $13 million.
While denying the claims of sexual harassment, O’Reilly admitted that he has on occasions “put to rest any controversies” in order to protect his family, in a statement on his website.
“Just like other prominent and controversial people, I’m vulnerable to lawsuits from individuals who want me to pay them to avoid negative publicity. In my more than 20 years at Fox News Channel, no one has ever filed a complaint about me with the Human Resources Department, even on the anonymous hotline.
But most importantly, I’m a father who cares deeply for my children and who would do anything to avoid hurting them in any way. And so I have put to rest any controversies to spare my children.
The worst part of my job is being a target for those who would harm me and my employer, the Fox News Channel. Those of us in the arena are constantly at risk, as are our families and children. My primary efforts will continue to be to put forth an honest TV program and to protect those close to me.”
By Saturday evening, the Wall Street Journal reported that O’Reilly’s contract, which was set to expire by the end of 2017, was recently renewed. The Wall Street Journal and Fox News Channel are owned by the same company, 21st Century Fox.
For over a decade, “The O’Reilly Factor” has been the most-watched news show. Recent data published by TVNewser shows that O’Reilly’s 8 PM show on last Thursday garnered about 3.27 million views, beating CNN’s “AC360” which attracted around 2 million views.