Fox Settled Sexual Harassment Claims Against O'Reilly: Report

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Bill O'Reilly
Bill O'Reilly Credit: Fox News via YouTube

Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox Inc. settled allegations that Fox News host Bill O'Reilly sexually harassed on-air personality Juliet Huddy, the New York Times reported.

In exchange for her silence and agreement not to sue the company, Ms. Huddy was paid a sum in the high six figures, the newspaper said, citing documents related to the matter as well as sources it didn't identify.

The allegations targeted the top personality on Fox News, the most-watched channel on cable TV and one of Fox's most profitable businesses. Mr. O'Reilly, whose contract expires later this year, is the network's biggest ratings-getter, serving as a lead-in for Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity.

With one of the the most loyal audiences in TV, Fox News has maintained its lead in the ratings race despite an internal crisis that began last year when its head Roger Ailes was accused of sexual harassment, leading to his ouster from the network he co-founded. The network has pummeled CNN and MSNBC in the ratings since the presidential election in November

Ms. Huddy is the latest woman at Fox News to make sexual-harassment allegations. Gretchen Carlson, who sued Mr. Ailes, left the network and was paid a $20 million settlement by Fox News. Megyn Kelly, whose departure was announced last week, also said that Mr. Ailes had harassed her.

Ms. Huddy said Mr. O'Reilly pursued a sexual relationship with her in 2011, and when she rebuffed his advances he tried to derail her career, according to a draft of a letter from her lawyers to Fox News that was obtained by Times.

The letter cited by the Times also included accusations by Ms. Huddy against Jack Abernethy, who was named a co-president of Fox News after Mr. Ailes was ousted last year. Lawyers for Ms. Huddy said Mr. Abernethy had retaliated against the anchor professionally after she made clear that she wasn't interested in a personal relationship, the paper said.

Fox News didn't respond to requests for comment. first reported on the agreement Monday. The accord between Ms. Huddy and the company followed Mr. Ailes's departure last summer. Lawyers for Ms. Huddy and Mr. O'Reilly didn't respond for requests for comment.

-Bloomberg News

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