Bill O’Reilly will be investigated based on the claims of one of his accusers. This news comes from civil rights attorney Lisa Bloom who is representing accuser Wendy Walsh. Variety quotes Bloom as saying,
“On Friday, we received a call from a couple of attorneys who represent Fox News and they said that they are, indeed, going to do an investigation based on Wendy’s complaint. I told them we really appreciate that and let’s get going as soon as possible. And so I am told that they are taking it seriously and they are going to do the investigation that’s legally required of them.”
On April 1, the New York Times reported that an investigation they had conducted uncovered five female accusers against O’Reilly. The five women combined were paid a total of about $13 million by either Bill O’Reilly or the company in exchange for not pressing charges are speaking about their accusations. Two of the accusers came forward after the Roger Ailes was dismissed following a sexual harassment scandal. When he was dismissed, the company issued a statement that said, in part, that it does not condone behavior that “disrespects women or contributes to an uncomfortable work environment.”
Some of O’Reilly’s accusers worked for him and some appeared on his show. Their claims include verbal abuse, unwanted advances, lewd comments, and phone calls in which the TV host sounded as if he were pleasuring himself. Wendy Walsh is not one of the five women who have received a settlement.
Walsh made regular appearances on Bill O’Reilly’s show at one time. She has stated that he failed to follow through on an offer to get her a position at Fox after she refused his advances. When the NYT article was published on April 1, they reported that 21st Century Fox provided the following statement in response to their inquiry about the accusations.
“21st Century Fox takes matters of workplace behavior very seriously. Notwithstanding the fact that no current or former Fox News employee ever took advantage of the 21st Century Fox hotline to raise a concern about Bill O’Reilly, even anonymously, we have looked into these matters over the last few months and discussed them with Mr. O’Reilly. While he denies the merits of these claims, Mr. O’Reilly has resolved those he regarded as his personal responsibility. Mr. O’Reilly is fully committed to supporting our efforts to improve the environment for all our employees at Fox News.”
On Friday, Walsh and her attorney Lisa Bloom called the 21st Century Fox hotline to report her complaint. They posted a video of their phone call to YouTube.
At this time, Walsh has not sued or requested a settlement from Bill O’Reilly or Fox.
When contacted by CNN for comment on Bloom’s comments indicating that an investigation into O’Reilly’s actions will be made, a spokesperson for 21st Century Fox said that Fox “investigates all complaints and we have asked the law firm Paul Weiss to continue assisting the company in these serious matters.” The O’Reilly Factor host has denied the claims and has stated that he is a target for allegations because of his celebrity.
Since the New York Times published its article, advertisers have been pulling their support from The O’Reilly Factor. The number of advertisers who have currently pulled their support is up to 60 at this point. Among them are BMW, T. Rowe Price, GlaxoSmithKline, and Mitsubishi Motors. A similar, but smaller scale, advertiser boycott led to the eventual demise of Glenn Beck’s successful show on Fox News in 2011. The O’Reilly Factor is the top-rated news discussion show on cable television.
[Featured Image by Fox News]