Gretchen Carlson to CNN: ‘Outrageous’ Fox would re-sign O’Reilly
Former Fox News host Gretchen Carlson told CNN on Sunday that Fox’s decision to re-sign primetime star Bill O’Reilly was both “horrifying and outrageous” after he gave $32 million to his former colleague, Lis Wiehl, who threatened to sue him for sexual harassment.
The commentary by the former Miss America came one day after a The New York Times report that executives at the network knew about the settlement when O’Reilly re-upped his contract in February for $100 million over four years.
O’Reilly was fired two months later after his top-rated program lost more than 50 advertisers following an April 1 report in The New York Times that five women were paid $13 million to settle sexual harassment suits.
“It’s horrifying and outrageous that any company, after dismissing somebody for allegations such as that, would not only re-sign a contract but allow that person to come back on the air,” Carlson said on CNN’s media affairs program “Reliable Sources.”
Wiehl, 56, appeared on a weekly segment on “The O’Reilly Factor” called “Is it Legal?” with former attorney and current host of “The Five” Kimberly Guilfoyle. She also co-hosted his radio show for a time.
She appeared on the network for 15 years starting in 2001 when the Harvard Law graduate joined as a legal analyst. The network parted ways with Wiehl in April.
Her $32 million settlement dwarfs that given to former Fox News host Gretchen Carlson, who received $20 million from the network in 2016 after suing Chairman and CEO Roger Ailes, who passed away in May.
The settlement came as the company said it was trying to improve its workplace culture in the wake of numerous allegations made against Ailes.
Ailes was fired in July 2016 shortly after an internal investigation by the law firm Paul, Weiss was launched.
“This is covering up, this is enablers, this is shutting up the victims,” Carlson also said Sunday. “I think it’s absolutely horrifying that we’ve allowed this to go on for so long in our corporate culture.”
O’Reilly’s attorney maintained his client’s innocence while blasting The New York Times for publishing a story that is “out of context, false, defamatory” and was designed to “keep him from competing in the marketplace.”
“In its latest diatribe against Bill O’Reilly, the Times printed leaked information provided by anonymous sources that is out of context, false, defamatory, and obviously designed to embarrass Bill O’Reilly and to keep him from competing in the marketplace,” wrote attorney Mark Fabiani.
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