Former Fox News employees speak out after Hannity urges Bill O'Reilly to return to network

A group of former Fox News staffers condemned Sean HannitySean Patrick HannityGOP threatens to weaponize impeachment witnesses amid standoff Trump wants To 'deescalate,' but will his supporters let him? McConnell tells GOP senators to expect impeachment trial next week MORE on Wednesday after the Fox host encouraged ex-anchor Bill O’Reilly to return to the cable news network.

The staffers — Diana Falzone, Gretchen Carlson and Julie Roginsky — issued a joint statement decrying Hannity’s overture to O’Reilly, saying it “demonstrates how far we have yet to go in ensuring that survivors of sexual assault and harassment are treated with even the modicum of respect that Hannity has shown an alleged serial predator.”

O'Reilly left Fox News in 2017 following reports that he had paid $13 million to five women to settle allegations of sexual misconduct. He has denied the allegations.

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The New York Times also reported in 2017 that O'Reilly paid $32 million to settle a sexual harassment claim against him. The newspaper said he declined to address specific questions about the settlement.

The former employees who issued Wednesday's statement called on Fox News to release all women from their nondisclosure agreements, saying it would help the public understand how “egregious” Hannity’s remarks were.

O'Reilly appeared on Hannity's radio program Tuesday to discuss his recent interview with President TrumpDonald John TrumpNational Archives says it altered Trump signs, other messages in Women's March photo Dems plan marathon prep for Senate trial, wary of Trump trying to 'game' the process Democratic lawmaker dismisses GOP lawsuit threat: 'Take your letter and shove it' MORE. During their conversation, Hannity said he keeps urging O'Reilly to return to the network, according to audio released by Media Matters.

"Yeah, and why do I want to do that?" O'Reilly responded. "So I can have security guards go with me everywhere, like I used to?"

"No, so that you take the No. 1 slot," Hannity replied, adding that it's "way easier" being the No. 2 in the Fox News lineup.

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O'Reilly previously appeared on Hannity's Fox News program in September 2017 as a guest. He has also made occasional appearances on Hannity's nationally syndicated radio program.

In their statement, Carlson, Roginsky and Falzone called it "ironic" that a man accused of sexual harassment was being courted to return to Fox News while "his many victims and other survivors of sexual harassment at the same network continue to be bound by onerous confidentiality provisions that prevent them from disclosing what those harassers said or did to them."

Fox News did not provide a statement Wednesday in response to the remarks made by the former employees.

Carlson, a former Fox News anchor, and Roginsky, a former contributor, have both settled sexual harassment claims alleging Fox News founder Roger Ailes ordered their firing because they refused his sexual advances. The two signed nondisclosure agreements (NDAs) as part of their settlements.

Falzone, a former reporter who is also subject to an NDA, was reportedly stopped by the network from reporting on the alleged hush money payments President Trump made to adult-film star Stormy Daniels.

The joint statement marks the latest push by the former employees to have Fox News release them from their NDAs.

“The way in which we continue to subjugate women and keep them down is through NDAs and silencing them. It's really a harasser's best friend," Carlson told CBS News last month.