Bill O’Reilly says the recent New York Times report that he settled a sexual harassment suit for $32 million shortly before Fox News offered him a $100 million contract extension is “false, defamatory” and “another smear article.”
But according to Megyn Kelly, who worked alongside O’Reilly at Fox News for more than a decade, the only false claims here are coming from O’Reilly himself.
On Monday, Kelly used her new platform at NBC to accuse O’Reilly of lying.
“O’Reilly’s suggestion that no one ever complained about his behavior is false,” she said. “I know, because I complained.”
Kelly said she’d emailed Bill Shine and Jack Abernethy, co-presidents of Fox News, about O’Reilly’s alleged conduct, urging them to take action and change Fox’s culture of “shaming women into shutting the hell up about harassment.”
NBC published a copy of the email on Monday afternoon. In it, Kelly accuses O’Reilly of silencing women and suggesting that coming forward about misconduct would “disgrace the company.”
That logic “is in part how Fox News got into the decade-long Ailes mess to begin with,” Kelly wrote.
Shine pledged to deal with O’Reilly, Kelly said, but seemingly did nothing. O’Reilly’s intimidation tactics allegedly continued ― with, it seemed, the company’s blessing.
“This must stop,” Kelly said Monday. “The abuse of women, the shaming of them, the threatening and the retaliation, the silencing them after the fact — it has to stop.”
“Women everywhere are used to being dismissed, ignored or attacked when raising complaints about men in authority positions,” she went on. “They stay silent so often out of fear ― fear of ending their careers, fear of lawyers, yes, and often fear of public shaming, including through the media.”
Fox issued a statement in response to Kelly, saying the network “has taken concerted action” to change.
This story has been updated with more information about the content of Megyn Kelly’s email.