Bill O’Reilly is making a comeback on digital airwaves. Veuer's Natasha Abellard (@Natasha Abellard) has the story. Buzz60
Former Fox News host Bill O'Reilly dismissed as "lies and smear" the details in a New York Times report saying 21st Century Fox had signed O'Reilly to a contract extension months after O'Reilly reached a $32 million sexual harassment settlement with longtime network analyst Lis Wiehl.
The settlement, revealed by the Times in an article Saturday, was one of several such deals involving O'Reilly. The controversial commentator was re-upped in February only to be dismissed by Fox in April after the Times reported on some of them.
O'Reilly was combative and unapologetic on Twitter.
"My investigative team has done a superb job in exposing the lies and smear," O'Reilly tweeted late Saturday. "I will speak with you on Monday."
He also posted a statement from spokesman Mark Fabiani saying the Times "once again... maliciously smeared Bill O’Reilly, this time even failing to print a sworn affidavit from his former lawyer, Lis Wiehl, repudiating all allegations."
Fabiani accused the Times of ignoring sworn evidence in favor of "unsubstantiated allegations, anonymous sources and incomplete leaked or stolen documents."
The Times quickly rejected Fabiani's claims. Reporter Michael S. Schmidt, who wrote the story with Emily Steel, tweeted that O'Reilly "falsely says our story didn’t mention affidavit Lise Wiehl signed" and showing two such mentions in the article.
The Times also issued a statement through the Associated Press: “Mr. Fabiani addresses everything but what the story actually says. This article, like our previous reporting on the subject, is accurate and deeply reported and we welcome any challenge to the facts."
The Times cited sources briefed on the case for the settlement details, including allegations of repeated harassment and a non-consensual sexual relationship.
Previous harassment settlements involving O'Reilly total at least $45 million, the Times claimed. O'Reilly told the Times the allegations were politically and financially motivated and that he "never mistreated anyone."
Fabiani accused the Times of printing leaked information that was "out of context, false, defamatory, and obviously designed to embarrass Bill O'Reilly and to keep him from competing in the marketplace."
In February, about six months after the Wiehl settlement, 21st Century Fox struck a new four-year contract worth $25 million annually with O'Reilly to continue as host of what was Fox News's signature show, The O'Reilly Factor.
21st Century Fox issued a statement Saturday acknowledging that the company was aware of the harassment suit but said O'Reilly assured them that he had "settled the matter personally." The company also said the contract included protections allowing for O'Reilly's dismissal if more damaging information surfaced.
Fox News ousted chairman Roger Ailes last year amid his own sexual harassment scandal. Gretchen Carlson, a former Fox News host, filed the bombshell lawsuit against Ailes that ignited a broad discussion into sexual harassment and corporate culture.
Carlson weighed in on the latest O'Reilly settlement on Twitter: "Nobody pays $32m for false allegations - nobody."
Contributing: Doug Stanglin