Fox News has settled sexual harassment allegations leveled against host Bill O’Reilly by a former employee last year, according to multiple reports.
The website LawNewz.com first reported Monday that shortly after former Fox News Chairman and CEO Roger Ailes was ousted over similar allegations, Fox “came to a very quiet settlement arrangement” with former Fox News host Juliet Huddy over allegations that O’Reilly sexually harassed her.
Huddy — who once had recurring segments on “The O’Reilly Factor” dubbed “Did You See That?” and “Mad as Hell” — alleged that when she spurned the host’s advances, there were professional ramifications.
LawNewz obtained a letter from Huddy’s lawyer detailing the “lurid allegations against O’Reilly,” including claims that he “propositioned her on multiple occasions,” tried to kiss her and make inappropriate phone calls to her. The website also reported that the letter detailed an “incident” that allegedly took place at a hotel after Huddy went to “return a room key” to O’Reilly.
After Huddy rejected O’Reilly’s advances, the letter states, her segments on “The O’Reilly Factor” came to an abrupt end, although they were among the show’s “highest-rated segments.”
Huddy was later transferred to the network’s affiliate Fox 5 New York, where she was granted a 4:30 a.m. time slot. Huddy left the role in September.
According to the report, Huddy also alleged that Fox News Co-President Jack Abernethy sexually harassed her, saying that he “constantly” called her and asked her “to come by his office.”
O’Reilly’s lawyer, Fredric S. Newman, told the New York Times: “There is absolutely no basis for any claim of sexual harassment against Bill O’Reilly by Juliet Huddy.”
The Times reported that Huddy “was paid a sum in the high six figures.”
LawNewz notes that, in 2004, O’Reilly settled a lawsuit involving similar allegations by a former producer, saying on his program that there was “no wrongdoing in the case whatsoever by anyone.”
Huddy’s brother, John Huddy Jr., works for Fox News as a correspondent based in Jerusalem. Her father previously worked for the network but left his position in July.