Accuser suing O'Reilly, Fox News for defamation

Accuser suing O'Reilly, Fox News for defamation
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Rachel Witlieb Bernstein, who previously settled a harassment claim with Fox News’s Bill O’Reilly, is suing the former cable news host and the network for breach of contract and defamation, The New York Times reported on Monday.

Bernstein's suit says that O'Reilly has been untruthful in saying publicly that the harassment allegations against him are meritless.

“In fact, Mr. O’Reilly is the liar,” the lawsuit reportedly says.

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“He mistreated Ms. Bernstein. She was forced out of her job at Fox News and paid a settlement because of his mistreatment,” the suit states.

O’Reilly left the network in April after the Times, in an investigation, revealed that either Fox News or the television host paid approximately $13 million to five women to settle harassment allegations.

“O’Reilly portrayed himself as a ‘target’ and claimed that complaints against him are extortionate,” the lawsuit reads, as reported by the Times. “This is false. In fact, he is a serial abuser and Ms. Bernstein’s complaints about him were far from extortionate.”

In a statement to the Times, Neil Mullin, one of Bernstein's lawyers, said Fox and O'Reilly have made "false and disparaging claims" because they knew those making accusations against O'Reilly would be scared to "speak out" due to nondisclosure agreements reached as part of the settlements.

“They should release all victims from their [nondisclosure agreements] and let the truth out," Mullin said in the statement to the Times. "It is cowardly to publicly attack these women knowing they have been subjected to contractual provisions requiring absolute silence.”

The lawsuit says Bernstein, in 2002, settled with O’Reilly and Fox News, but it accuses the network of breaching the contract by defaming her in statements reacting to the newspaper’s article. Bernstein's allegations did not include sexual harassment, according to the Times.