Bill O’Reilly caught in $32 million Fox News gay adult films scandal
Anti-gay former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly is caught up in a $32 million gay porn lawsuit.
The former veteran Fox presenter was sensationally dropped by the network earlier this year amid a string of sexual harassment claims.
Now the New York Times (NYT) has claimed that, in January, O’Reilly agreed to pay $32 million to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit filed against him.
The suit comes from Fox News legal analyst, Lis Wiehl, who had appeared on O’Reilly’s show for more than 15 years.
Ms Wiehl makes a number of allegations against O’Reilly – including, surprisingly, that he sent her gay porn.
The New York Times reports: “Although the deal has not been previously made public, the network’s parent company, 21st Century Fox, acknowledges that it was aware of the woman’s complaints about Mr. O’Reilly.
“They included 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.”
The statement has caused a considerable stir online.
O’Reilly has been a long time opponent of LGBT rights, previously having to apologise after he suggested there was a link between homosexuality and paedophilia.
NYT reports that the $32 million settlement was reached in January.
In February, just weeks later, 21st Century Fox offered O’Reilly a four-year, $100 million ($25 million per year) contract extension.
When confronted about this, the company said it considered the situation between O’Reilly and Wiehl “a personal matter between both parties.”
The 67-year-old’s career as the top rated talk show host came to an abrupt end when the Fox network sacked him over a string of claims.
Mr O’Reilly and his employers came under intense pressure after an article by The New York Times alleged Fox News and its parent company had repeatedly stood by him despite the ongoing allegations.
The newspaper said Fox defended O’Reilly even as he and the company reached settlements with five women who had complained about sexual harassment or other inappropriate behaviour by him.
More than 50 advertisers had abandoned his show, The O’Reilly Factor, and women’s rights groups had called for him to be fired.
21st Century Fox issued a statement at the time of his dismissal saying: “After a thorough and careful review of the allegations, the company and Bill O’Reilly have agreed that Bill O’Reilly will not be returning to the Fox News Channel.”
James Murdoch stopped to answer a question about the decision while in New York, saying: “We did a thorough investigation, a thorough review, and we reached a conclusion.
“Everything that we said in our statement is all you need to know.”
In a statement later in the day, Mr O’Reilly praised Fox News but said it was “tremendously disheartening that we part ways due to completely unfounded claims.”
He added: “But that is the unfortunate reality many of us in the public eye must live with today,” he said. “I will always look back on my time at Fox with great pride in the unprecedented success we achieved and with my deepest gratitude to all my dedicated viewers. I wish only the best for Fox News Channel.”
O’Reilly has been a longtime opponent of LGBT rights, claiming same-sex marriage was introduced due to “intimidation”.
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According to Media Matters, he also claimed same-sex marriage had only been introduced due to “intimidation” by LGBT people.
He said: “One of the reasons gay marriage has come on so strong in the USA is intimidation.”
“If you oppose [same-sex marriage], you may become a target.”
“There’s a big difference in saying, ‘if you donate money to a traditional marriage cause, we’re going to hurt you, we’re going to find out where you live, we are going try to take your job. Maybe do vandalism to your home’ – big, big difference, is there not?
“There have been websites who have put people’s names on there. There have been a lot of that stuff.
“Now there are threats and demonisation. And that, unfortunately, has put gay marriage over the top. That is the technique that turned the tide – intimidation and harm. That’s what won it.”