Fox News has settled with former anchor Juliet Huddy after she alleged sexual harassment allegations against Fox News star, Bill O’Reilly.
confirmed the settlement with three sources with direct knowledge on the matter, and obtained a draft of the intent to sue letter which was given to Fox News last year.
Allegations of sexual harassment against O’Reilly and Jack Abernathy, co-President of Fox News were mentioned by Huddy in the letter, including multiple occasions beginning in 2011, when O’Reilly attempted to kiss her, and Abernathy would call her to his office for no reason. She alleges that after she “refused to comply with O’Reilly’s advances,” she was removed from his show and transferred to a 4:30 am. slot on Fox 5 New York, and that Abernathy also retaliated when she rejected him.
An article by The New York Times mentions one of the incidences of O’Reilly’s alleged advances.
“The next week, Mr. O’Reilly asked her to join him for dinner at the Harvard Club, followed by a Broadway show, according to the letter and to current and former Fox News employees.
Ms. Huddy was not interested in having a romantic relationship with Mr. O’Reilly but, the letter said, “she felt compelled to comply with Mr. O’Reilly’s request, given that he had total control over her work assignment.”
During the Broadway show, according to the letter, Mr. O’Reilly moved close to Ms. Huddy in a way that made her feel uncomfortable. He tried to hold her hand but she pulled it away. Then he dropped a key to the room at a Midtown Manhattan hotel he was staying at into her lap, and told her to meet him there after the show. He stood up and left, the letter said.
Ms. Huddy went to the hotel to return Mr. O’Reilly’s key, according to the letter. She asked him to meet her in the lobby, but he refused and asked her to join him in his room.
“Ms. Huddy declined and explained that she was not interested in Mr. O’Reilly on a personal or sexual level,” the letter said.
Mr. O’Reilly persisted and again asked that Ms. Huddy come up to his room, and she ultimately went up give him the key, according to the letter. It is not clear why she did not leave it at the front desk or simply leave.
When Mr. O’Reilly opened the door to his room, he was wearing nothing but boxer shorts, according to the letter. Ms. Huddy was “very embarrassed, handed Mr. O’Reilly his key and quickly left,” the letter said.
In the months after Mr. O’Reilly and Ms. Huddy went to the show in Manhattan, his “obsession with her only escalated,” the letter said.
Mr. O’Reilly started calling Ms. Huddy at all hours, even while he was on vacation. At times, the calls were about work, but they were sometimes “highly inappropriate and sexual,” the letter said. On some occasions, it sounded like Mr. O’Reilly was masturbating, the letter said.”
In exchange for an agreement not to sue, Huddy has agreed to not “disparage, malign or defame” Fox News, and they have similarly promised the same. The settlement, although not fully disclosed, is several hundred thousands of dollars. Representatives from Fox News and O’Reilly dismissed allegations in statements to LawNewz and The New York Times.
Fox has been riddled with sexual harassment allegations since the July resignation of Roger Ailes, the former chairman of Fox News, after the sexual harassment suit by Gretchen Carlson. Ailes was also the subject of other lawsuits, including one from Andrea Tantaros. More than 20 employees, including former anchor Megyn Kelly, described inappropriate behavior from Ailes.
O’Reilly was previously sued by producer Andrea Mackris for sexual harassment in which he, according to the suit, prepositioned her to buy a vibrator. The settlement was in the millions. O’Reilly’s Twitter account, @OReillyFactor, remains quiet. Fox News had previously pledged to take allegations of sexual harassment seriously, and has hired a new head of human resources.