When the disgraced Bill O’Reilly was fired by Fox News in 2017, he was being inundated with sexual harassment allegations. Regardless, Fox News’ Sean Hannity is urging him to return to the right-wing cable news outlet — and is being angrily called out for it by three former Fox staffers, some of whom have alleged that they suffered sexual harassment while working at Fox.
Hannity, in addition to his nighttime show on Fox News, has a radio program — and when he featured O’Reilly as a guest on Tuesday night, Hannity urged him to return to Fox News (Media Matters has posted audio of the broadcast on its website). But O’Reilly expressed no interest in working at Fox again, telling Hannity, “Yeah, and why do I want to do that? So I can have security guards go with me everywhere, like I used to?” And Hannity responded, “No, so that you take the #1 slot.”
In response, three former Fox News staffers — Diana Falzone, Gretchen Carlson and Julie Roginsky — issued a joint statement, asserting that Hannity’s desire to see O’Reilly return to Fox News “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.”
Falzone, Carlson and Roginsky were highly critical of the way in which Fox News subjects alleged sexual harassment victims to nondisclosure agreements (NDA).
“It is ironic that a man accused of sexual harassment over the course of many years by different women is being courted to return to Fox News by its most prominent on-air personality, while his many victims and other survivors of sexual harassment at that same network continue to be bound by onerous confidentiality provisions that prevent them from disclosing what those harassers said or did to them,” the former Fox News staffers stressed in their statement.
When O’Reilly left Fox News in disgrace, he had been facing sexual harassment allegations from five different women. Between those five women, according to the New York Times, O’Reilly paid $13 million altogether to settle sexual harassment claims. And separately, the New York Times reported in 2017, O’Reilly paid $32 million to settle a sexual harassment claim made by former Fox News legal analyst Lis Wiehl.
— dianafalzone (@dianafalzone) November 27, 2019
O’Reilly isn’t the only one at Fox News who has been inundated with sexual harassment allegations. Carlson and Roginsky both settled sexual harassment claims against Roger Ailes, the late founder of Fox News, and alleged that they were fired for refusing his sexual advances. Ailes, who had been a media consultant for President Richard Nixon, President Ronald Reagan and other Republicans, was 77 when he died on May 18, 2017.
In October, Carlson told CBS News, “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.”