Megyn Kelly slammed former Fox News anchor Bill O’Reilly this morning following a published report on Saturday that the former O’Reilly Factor host allegedly paid $32 million to settle a claim from sexual harassment accuser No. 6.
In a statement posted to his website, O’Reilly described the New York Times report as a malicious smear, adding that the alleged accuser, Lis Wiehl, retracted any allegations against him in a sworn affidavit.
On Megyn Kelly Today, the 12-year Fox News employee who hosted The Kelly File took issue with her ex-colleague’s insistence that no one ever went to HR with a complaint about him.
[See Update below]
In February 2017, one month after Megyn Kelly left Fox News, the network signed O’Reilly to a contract extension, but parent company 21st Century Fox — which apparently was aware of the Lis Wiehl settlement — included a stipulation that would allow him to be shown the door if additional harassment allegations surfaced, Variety reported. Fox News fired O’Reilly in April.
In an interview with the New York Times about the latest development in the scandal, Bill O’Reilly asserted that the dollar amounts of the settlements that the news organization published were incorrect, and that he settled complaints to protect his children. He also called “BS” on the allegations themselves, arguing that they were motivated by political and financial considerations. He again maintained that left-wing pressure groups orchestrated the advertiser boycott of The Factor.
In her editorial, Megyn Kelly specifically took issue with O’Reilly’s contention that no one ever complained about him internally in 20 years. She claims she did so after O’Reilly guested on CBS This Morning and indirectly chided Kelly for making Fox look bad in her then new book Settle for More because it addressed sexual harassment allegations lodged against former CEO Roger Ailes.
“However, O’Reilly’s suggestion that no one ever complained about his behavior is false, I know because I complained. It was November 2016, the day my memoir was released. In it, I included a chapter on Ailes and the sexual harassment scandal at Fox News, something the Murdochs knew I was doing, and to their credit, approved. O’Reilly happened to be on CBS News that morning…”
Kelly continued that she emailed the two co-presidents of Fox News shortly after the CBS interview, and that she kept the email under wraps until now.
“I think [the email] speaks volumes about powerful men and the roadblocks one can face in taking them on. I wrote, in part, ‘perhaps he didn’t realize the kind of message his criticism sends to young women across this country, about how men continue to view the issue of speaking out about sexual harassment. Perhaps he didn’t realize that his exact attitude of shaming women into shutting the hell up about harassment on grounds that it will disgrace the company, is, in part, how Fox News got into the decade-long Ailes mess to begin with. Perhaps it’s his own history of harassment of women, which has, as you both know, resulted in payouts to more than one woman…that blinded him to the folly of saying anything other than ‘I am just so sorry for the women of this company who never should have had to go through that.’”
Megyn Kelly claimed that an exec said he would deal with O’Reilly about the situation, but that evening, Mr. Bill nonetheless attacked victims of sexual harassment in remarks delivered on The O’Reilly Factor. Kelly also acknowledged that Fox News has since made many changes to its corporate culture.
Megyn Kelly also threw shade on “vindictive” FNC media relations chief Irena Briganti. Fox News reached out to the Inquisitr to give their support to Briganti.
“Irena is a valued colleague and she has our full support.”
Kelly’s many critics across the ideological spectrum have taken to social media to accuse the Megyn Kelly Today host of exploiting the O’Reilly controversy as a ratings grab for her program that is struggling to find an audience.
Watch the entire monologue and draw your own conclusions.
In a separate segment, Bill O’Reilly accuser Juliet Huddy (accompanied by her attorney) sat down for an interview with Megyn Kelly. Huddy is subject to a nondisclosure agreement and as such, was unable to comment specifically on the allegations, however. She did talk about how difficult it is to come forward against a large, lawyered-up corporation.
During the conversation, Megyn Kelly noted that even false claims can be settled as a way to get rid of them, but the alleged $32 million payout to Lis Wiehl hardly qualifies as nuisance value.
Added: In a phone-in interview on Glenn Beck’s radio show, Bill O’Reilly declared that in 43 years in the media industry with 12 different companies, no one ever complained to HR or legal about his conduct. In 20 years at FNC, he added, however, that he resolved just “three things” to keep his children safe.
The settlement amounts cited by the Times are wildly wrong, he explained, but confidentiality agreements prevent him from being more specific, and he doesn’t want to spend many years in court fighting over the allegations. “The end game [for his political foes] is to link O’Reilly to Harvey Weinstein” to get him out of the media marketplace, Bill O’Reilly claimed. He also released three thank-you letters, two purportedly from Megyn Kelly and one from Gretchen Carlson. In those notes, Kelly referred to O’Reilly as a “class act” and a “dear friend” and a “true friend and mentor.”
“I never had any problem with Megyn Kelly…I don’t know why Megyn Kelly is doing what she’s doing…It is incomprehensible,” Bill O’Reilly asserted, noting that he helped Kelly “dramatically” with her career.
In response to Megyn Kelly's comments today, Bill O'Reilly's rep Mark Fabiani sent me photos of a couple thank you notes she sent O'Reilly pic.twitter.com/reqLJ9O5tM— Tom Kludt (@TomKludt) October 23, 2017
[Featured Image by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP Images]