Former Fox News star Bill O’Reilly will receive $25 million as part of his settlement to leave the network in the wake of a sexual harassment scandal, according to a source familiar with the matter.
O’Reilly’s most recent contract provides that he can receive a maximum of one year’s salary upon departure, according to a second source familiar with the matter. The news host’s most recent contract is said to be worth $25 million a year.
CNN’s Brian Stelter first reported that O’Reilly would walk away with “tens of millions,” although he later pegged the payout at the full $25 million.
Fox News referred questions to parent company 21st Century Fox, which declined to comment.
O’Reilly’s career began unraveling earlier this month when The New York Times reported that he and the network had paid $13 million in settlements to five women accusing him of sexual harassment, verbal abuse or inappropriate behavior.
It was the second time that O’Reilly, the highest-rated cable news host, had been mired in a sexual harassment scandal. But the previous incident occurred in 2004, before social media could be harnessed to fuel an advertiser exodus and organize protests outside the company’s headquarters, and it didn’t happen just months after another scandal rocked the company.
21st Century Fox reportedly paid $40 million to disgraced former Chairman Roger Ailes as he exited last July in the face of widespread sexual harassment allegations.
Both Ailes and O’Reilly have denied the claims against them.
Though the media corporation may have been contractually obligated to pay the two men such large sums to walk out the door, the payouts ― more than the women alleging harassment received ― give the impression that bad behavior gets rewarded in the TV news business.