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Report: Former Fox host Guilfoyle emotionally abused subordinates and showed co-workers photographs of penises, identifying the people in them
According to a HuffPost report, Kimberly Guilfoyle, formerly a co-host of Fox News’ The Five, “parted ways” with the network after “a human resources investigation into allegations of inappropriate behavior including sexual misconduct.”
According to multiple sources inside and outside Fox News, Guilfoyle, who is dating Donald Trump Jr., showed “personal photographs of male genitalia to colleagues (and identif[ied] whose genitals they were),” regularly discussed “sexual matters at work,” and engaged in “emotionally abusive behavior toward hair and makeup artists and support staff.”
Guilfoyle follows a long list of other high-profile Fox figures who have been reported for sexual misconduct at the network. Eric Bolling, also a former co-host of The Five, was fired in September following reports that he sent his co-workers unsolicited photographs of his genitalia. Fox kept contributor Charles Payne on the payroll after completing an investigation into a co-worker's report that he raped her. Steve Doocy, a Fox & Friends co-host, also remains at the network despite being named for harassment in his former co-host Gretchen Carlson’s landmark suit against the network.
And, of course, the network was forced to fire former CEO Roger Ailes, former co-President Bill Shine (who is currently the White House deputy chief of staff for communications), and former host Bill O’Reilly after reporting brought to light decades of workplace sexual abuse, cover-ups, and tens of millions of dollars Fox had paid to keep the victims silent.
As reported by HuffPost:
Multiple sources told HuffPost that [Kimberly] Guilfoyle’s exit from Fox News, where she had worked since 2006, came after her alleged inappropriate workplace behavior could no longer be tolerated by the network. Vanity Fair, which broke the story about Guilfoyle leaving the network, and The Daily Beast, which reported that Fox News staff allegedly waged a “hostile whisper campaign” against Guilfoyle, have said she crossed the line by using network makeup artists for personal outings, but the accusations Guilfoyle faced were much more serious.
Six sources said Guilfoyle’s behavior included showing personal photographs of male genitalia to colleagues (and identifying whose genitals they were), regularly discussing sexual matters at work and engaging in emotionally abusive behavior toward hair and makeup artists and support staff.
Sources said 21st Century Fox prefers that problematic employees retire or resign rather than be terminated ― the company has taken this approach with Fox News talent and executives in the past, as well as with Guilfoyle, who was not formally terminated. This method gives talent and executives a quieter way to exit and the network avoids a contentious departure. According to two sources, the network told Guilfoyle she was being given time to find a new job that she could announce before leaving.
Former Fox News host Eric Bolling, who was fired last year, appeared as a guest on the July 23 edition of MSNBC’s Morning Joe to promote his new CRTV show.
In 2017, Bolling was fired from sexual misconduct hub Fox News after HuffPost reported he had sent an “unsolicited photo of male genitalia via text message” to at least three Fox colleagues.Despite this alleged sexual misconduct and a long record of pushing bigotry and promoting conspiracy theories, Bolling just got a new show on Mark Levin’s CRTV, home of like-minded bigot and misogynist Gavin McInnes.
Bolling’s return to the airwaves is part of a larger trend of wealthy media men reported for sexual misconduct who are being allowed to make comebacks they have not earned. On his show, Bolling is unsurprisingly already getting cozy with other pro-Trump sycophants.
During his MSNBC appearance, Bolling talked about a 15-minute call he had this past weekend with President Donald Trump, of whom he’s a self-described “fan.” Bolling shared the insights from the call, praised Trump, and claimed Trump's state of mind was “amazing,” saying, “He was fine. He was in a good place.”
Bill O'Reilly scrubbed a mention of Pirro from his website
On July 10, Media Matters reported on Bill O’Reilly’s announcement that Fox News host Jeanine Pirro was going to appear on his digital show to discuss President Donald Trump’s nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.
A Google cache version of the preview for O’Reilly’s show has Pirro’s name:
At some point after publishing, her name was removed from the post.
Pirro never showed up, and O’Reilly instead discussed the matter with former U.S. Attorney Brett Tolman:
Media Matters emailed Fox News and Pirro, asking for comment about whether Pirro and Andrew Napolitano (who had reportedly been slated to be O’Reilly’s guest July 12; as of now, nothing on O’Reilly’s site from this week mentions Napolitano) were pulled from the program. So far, we have not received a response.
In April, O’Reilly announced that he was appearing at Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., for “An Evening With Bill O’Reilly.” Patrons who gave contributions of more than $5,000 were slated to be rewarded with an “invitation to behind the scenes tour of Fox & Friends.” After a Media Matters post on the matter, a Fox spokesperson told The Washington Post’s Erik Wemple, “We had no knowledge of this and we are not allowing Fox & Friends to be part of any donation package.”
O’Reilly left Fox News in April 2017 after a sustained pressure campaign following revelations of multiple sexual harassment settlements. O’Reilly has since made multiple appearances on Sean Hannity’s radio show and one appearance on Hannity’s Fox News show.
Bobby Lewis contributed research to this post.
Jeanine Pirro and Andrew Napolitano are scheduled to be guests on his digital program
On April 19, 2017, Bill O’Reilly and Fox News severed ties. Or so we thought.
Letting O’Reilly go was not the network’s first choice; O’Reilly left only when Fox News had no other option. The New York Times had revealed that O’Reilly and 21st Century Fox, Fox News’ parent company, paid roughly $13 million in settlements with five women who had reported O’Reilly for sexual harassment. In fact, Fox News had been silencing women who spoke up: According to the Times, “Fox News and Mr. O’Reilly adopted an aggressive strategy that served as a stark warning of what could happen to women if they came forward with complaints.”
O’Reilly remained on the air.
But then, relentless activism (including from Media Matters) spurred advertisers to pull their ads from the The O’Reilly Factor’s time slot. Sexual violence survivors demanded that Fox take action.
It was only then that Fox agreed to remove O’Reilly from the air.
But the network and some of its personalities quickly started helping O'Reilly rehabilitate his image. They barely covered the story at all.
Before long, O’Reilly popped up on Sean Hannity’s radio show. In an appearance on September 18, 2017, Hannity helped O’Reilly attack the women who reported him for sexual harassment, smearing a former Fox News clerical temp who had reported workplace misconduct by O’Reilly to the 21st Century Fox hotline. In return, Hannity said O’Reilly was a victim of a nefarious left-wing campaign aimed at silencing conservatives.
A week later, O’Reilly returned to Fox News. In an appearance that Fox teased throughout the day, Hannity welcomed the exiled host back for a lengthy in-studio chat, in which they whined about at the “totalitarians” at Media Matters.
O’Reilly hasn’t returned to Fox News since then. He did appear again on Hannity’s radio show, though.
Over the past several months, we have learned more about O’Reilly’s behavior. In October, The New York Times reported that O’Reilly had settled a sexual harassment claim with former contributor Lis Wiehl for $32 million. 21st Century Fox CEO James Murdoch claimed, “It was news to me,” even though Fox gave O’Reilly a lucrative contract after that settlement.
In April, Media Matters pointed out that a marketing campaign for an O’Reilly event at Trump Hotel in Washington, D.C., was pushing a tour of the Fox & Friends studio as a donation reward. A Fox spokesperson told Washington Post’s Erik Wemple, “We had no knowledge of this and we are not allowing Fox & Friends to be part of any donation package.”
Now, months later, Fox News personalities Jeanine Pirro and Andrew Napolitano are appearing on O’Reilly’s digital program, helping him reestablish his media presence:
Fox News host Jeanine Pirro will be a guest on Bill O'Reilly's digital show on Tuesday night and Fox News senior judicial analyst Andrew Napolitano will be a guest on Wednesday night.
— Jeremy Barr (@jeremymbarr) July 10, 2018
Pirro, a Fox host, has downplayed sexual misconduct allegations against then-Fox News CEO Roger Ailes and President Donald Trump. When multiple women spoke out about Trump touching them inappropriately, Pirro rejected their reports as “a little too convenient.” Napolitano, Fox’s senior judicial analyst, has appeared on conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’ show and once described Rep. Kristi Noem (R-SD) as a "good looker" on air.
O’Reilly has commented on Pirro’s appearance before in public. In April 2017, The New Yorker’s Kelefa Sanneh drew attention to a moment on air between the two:
But, on Thursday night, there was an odd moment when O’Reilly drew attention to the appearance of a female colleague. He was introducing Judge Jeanine Pirro, a Fox News host who is launching a new show, and he wanted the producer to move from a shot of his face to a shot of hers. “On her, please—much more photogenic than I am,” he said. “Judge Pirro—take a good look—is now going to host a show on the Fox broadcast network.”
O’Reilly’s interviews with Pirro and Napolitano come after Hannity arranged a top White House job for former Fox executive Bill Shine, even though Shine has been repeatedly implicated in the rampant sexual misconduct at Fox News. Fox News' new CEO has reportedly ignored sexual harassment and retaliating against complaints as well.
While O’Reilly has gotten numerous chances from Fox even after being let go, others have not been so lucky. Former Fox host Gretchen Carlson two years ago filed suit against Ailes for sexual harassment. She also detailed gender-based harassment from Fox & Friends co-host Steve Doocy.
Carlson has never been back on Fox News. Doocy still has his job.
Two years after he was implicated in Gretchen Carlson's lawsuit, the Fox News host remains on air
Two years ago today, Fox News host Gretchen Carlson filed a civil lawsuit against then-Fox News chairman and CEO Roger Ailes, detailing serial sexual harassment and retaliation by Ailes and persistent gender-based harassment from her former co-host Steve Doocy. Two years later, the toxic culture for women at Fox has been exposed and Ailes and his deputy have both left the network in disgrace, but Doocy continues to co-host “the most powerful TV show in America.”
Carlson held several on-air roles at Fox News from 2005 to the day she was fired from the network in 2016, about two weeks before she filed the lawsuit against Ailes. Her suit detailed pervasive harassment by Ailes and retaliation when she rejected his propositions. This included repeated sexual comments about Carlson’s body and several instances in which Ailes told Carlson that she should engage in a sexual relationship with him in order to improve her job standing.
Carlson’s lawsuit further detailed allegations of harassment by her former Fox & Friends co-host Steve Doocy, also dismissed by Ailes:
Carlson complained to her supervisor that one of her co-hosts on Fox & Friends, Steve Doocy, created a hostile work environment by regularly treating her in a sexist and condescending way, including by putting his hand on her and pulling down her arm to shush her during a live telecast.
Doocy engaged in a pattern and practice of severe and pervasive sexual harassment of Carlson, including, but not limited to, mocking her during commercial breaks, shunning her off air, refusing to engage with her on air, belittling her contributions to the show, and generally attempting to put her in her place by refusing to accept and treat her as an intelligent and insightful female journalist rather than a blonde female prop.
After learning of Carlson’s complaints, Ailes responded by calling Carlson a “man hater” and “killer” and telling her that she needed to learn to “get along with the boys.”
Since Carlson filed the suit two years ago, a lot has changed. Ailes resigned shortly afterward, just as a flood of stories began to spill out reporting that he engaged in serial abuse of women at Fox. He died in May 2017. His right-hand man, Bill Shine, was named in subsequent reporting and lawsuits for reportedly aiding Ailes in covering up serial sexual misconduct. Shine also resigned from Fox, though he has now found another job for which this resume is perfectly suited.
Media and activists have forced a spotlight on Fox News. More employees have come forward, reporting that the men in power -- Ailes, now-former host Bill O’Reilly, and several others -- subjected them to inappropriate misconduct. The stories also revealed a systemic, cultural disregard for the safety and autonomy of women at 21st Century Fox, exposing the toxic roots of the system. A movement has begun, and Carlson is now one of its pillars.
But Steve Doocy still has a job.
21st Century Fox’s initial statement about the 2016 lawsuit acknowledged Carlson’s statements about both Ailes and Doocy: “The Company has seen the allegations against Mr. Ailes and Mr. Doocy. We take these matters seriously. While we have full confidence in Mr. Ailes and Mr. Doocy, who have served the company brilliantly for over two decades, we have commenced an internal review of the matter.”
A former Fox News staffer told Politico shortly after the lawsuit was filed, “Everyone on staff knew about or saw Doocy make inappropriate comments.” Yet a Fox News source told CNN’s Brian Stelter that the internal investigation launched after the lawsuit appeared to be focused solely on Ailes. Carlson settled the lawsuit for $20 million in September 2016, and Fox issued a public apology as part of the settlement conditions. The apology did not mention Doocy (or Ailes) by name.
Doocy continues to co-host Fox & Friends every weekday morning, beaming his inane and propagandistic commentary right onto the president’s TV screen. The program has been deemed “the most powerful TV show in America” because of its direct line to perhaps the nation’s most powerful sexual harasser.
The years since Carlson’s lawsuit have yielded an important lesson: Fox News acts for the good of its employees only when it’s absolutely forced to -- because advertisers are fleeing, because the public is watching, because someone is loudly demanding accountability. Doocy has benefited from media silence for far too long.
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Media Matters President Angelo Carusone released the following statement following reports that former Fox News co-president Bill Shine, a long-time Roger Ailes acolyte is expected to be the new White House communications director.
Shine was at the helm of Fox News as it transitioned from being a partisan political operation to a pro-Trump propaganda arm. His biggest credential is that he somehow managed to turn Fox News into something more extreme and disreputable than it was even under Roger Ailes. And to top it off, he facilitated and enabled serial sexual misconduct for years.
To put it bluntly, it’s no surprise that the White House selected someone who has Sean Hannity’s personal seal of approval and who has a professional history steeped in extremism, lies, and enabling sexual misconduct.
Bill Shine resigned from Fox News amid reports that he helped cover up harassment allegations, including against former chairman and CEO Roger Ailes. His resignation came just two weeks after Fox News was forced to fire Bill O’Reilly when advertisers boycotted his show because of reports of serial sexual harassment. Shine had been promoted to co-president after Ailes’ ouster in August 2016 over repeated sexual harassment complaints and lawsuits. Shine was also referenced in multiple lawsuits against the network for his “complicity” in enabling a toxic work culture.
Update (7/5): Shine has been officially named as Assistant to the President and Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications.
Donald Trump is reportedly close to bringing aboard Bill Shine, Sean Hannity’s former producer and the former president of Fox News, as the next White House communications director.
This makes perfect sense.
Shine has been repeatedly implicated in the rampant sexual misconduct at Fox News. He played a similar role inside of Roger Ailes’ Fox News that Michael Cohen played for Donald Trump. As the senior executive vice president at the network, Shine reportedly retaliated against women who reported sexual harassment by then-CEO Roger Ailes and helped participate in covering up the reports that eventually led to Ailes’ ouster.
Former Fox News reporter Rudi Bakhtiar was reportedly fired from the network following her complaint that Brian Wilson, a former Fox News Washington bureau chief, had “made unwanted sexual advances toward her.” Bakhtiar reported the harassment, which Wilson denied, to Shine through her agent in 2007. Even though Shine reportedly promised to investigate, Bakhtiar was fired and eventually settled with the network for $670,000 through mediation after signing a nondisclosure agreement.
Shine reportedly helped Ailes interact with Laurie Luhn, a former Fox booker who eventually reported Ailes for harassment. Luhn had a nervous breakdown after Ailes “psychologically tortured” her. Shine reportedly checked her into hotels in different cities to keep her from reporting her circumstances and started reviewing her outgoing emails. A spokesperson for Shine told reporter Gabriel Sherman, who is now with Vanity Fair, that Shine denied reviewing the emails.
In July 2016, Sherman described how Shine “played an integral role in the cover-up” of Ailes’ reported misconduct. Sherman said that Shine “pushed women into confidential mediation, signing nondisclosure agreements in exchange for their contracts to be paid.”
The New York Times’ Emily Steel and Michael Schmidt reported in 2017 that Shine refused to intervene when it became clear that then-host Bill O’Reilly would air a segment lecturing women about sexual harassment. While Shine was co-president of Fox News, 21st Century Fox reportedly made multiple payments to women who reported that Bill O’Reilly sexually harassed them.
Fox News contributor Julie Roginsky filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against Ailes that also named Shine as being complicit in Ailes harassment and “punishing her for raising the issue.”
Shine was also tied a racial discrimination and harassment lawsuit. A group of Black employees at Fox News sued the network for racial discrimination and harassment. The lawsuit explained that Shine "has demonstrated an obsession with race when it comes to discussions with [then-Fox News anchor Kelly] Wright, including regularly asking him, 'how do Black people react to you' and 'how do you think White viewers look at you?'"
Also, Shine is close friends with Sean Hannity, whose now-defunct show Hannity & Colmes he used to produce. When Shine left Fox News, rumors swirled about whether Hannity would invoke a clause in his contract to leave as well.
This should all sound familiar.
Over 20 women have spoken out about Trump engaging in sexual misconduct, including 12 nonconsensual physical encounters. The media has for the most part repeatedly forgotten about them, even though there is audio of Trump bragging about sexual assault. And oh yeah, Sean Hannity and Fox News led the charge to discredit the women in the first place.
Trump’s racism is obvious, and yet it frequently gets papered over. Right-wing media defend it, mainstream outlets dance around it, and everyone just forgets it ever happened as soon as the next news tsunami hits.
So yeah, Bill Shine is a perfect fit for the Trump White House.
Trump bringing in Fox News people is now just a regular thing. It’s commonplace to see Fox host Jeanine Pirro in the Oval Office one day, and hear about host Lou Dobbs phoning in White House meetings the next. Fox & Friends weekend host Pete Hegseth is rumored to be the next Secretary of Veterans Affairs one week and is being considered for a communications job a few weeks later. Former Fox & Friends anchor Heather Nauert was installed at a top position in the Department of State. Former Fox contributor John Bolton became the national security adviser. Former Fox commentator Mercedes Schlapp is the director of strategic communications at the White House. Former Fox commentator Tony Sayegh is a Treasury Department’s spokesperson. Former Fox commentator Richard Grenell is now ambassador to Germany.
There are also those who didn’t make it: former contributor K.T. McFarland resigned as deputy national security adviser and later withdrew her nomination to become ambassador to Singapore due to controversy over work for disgraced former national security adviser Michael Flynn; and contributor Monica Crowley was never hired after it was reported that she plagiarized parts of her Ph.D. dissertation. And there’ve been rumors at various times that Trump is considering hiring Laura Ingraham and Sean Hannity.
Fox News has spent its entire existence as the mouthpiece of a revanchist, faux-populist oligarchy. Thanks to Donald Trump, that infrastructure is now in the White House.
It took decades and a number of brave women and men speaking out to reveal the full scale of the horrors of Roger Ailes and Bill Shine’s Fox News.
One wonders what we will find in the future about Trump’s White House.
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Months ago, Eric Bolling left Fox News amid an investigation into reports he had sent unsolicited pictures of male genitalia to multiple colleagues. Today, without having publicly reckoned with his past conduct whatsoever, Bolling announced he’ll soon return to the media scene as the host of a new show on conservative media outlet CRTV. He has also reportedly been “in talks” with Newsmax, Sinclair, MSNBC, and The Hill.
Bolling is part of a club of wealthy media men who are laying the groundwork for comebacks they have not earned. He is one of several high-profile media figures -- along with Charlie Rose, Matt Lauer, and Bill O’Reilly -- reported for workplace sexual misconduct who have now decided they deserve a second chance despite not having done any of the very tough public reflection such a comeback ought to require, at minimum. Rose is even reportedly involved in a new show idea being shopped in which he would interview other men, including Lauer, about their public outings as sexual predators.
As these media men attempt to pitch news executives and the public on a redemption tour, it’s up to us as media consumers to figure out what happens now. Does the world benefit from having these specific dudes back on air?
All evidence points to no.
These men have all offered vague (at least partial) denials and largely declined to discuss the reports against them, sometimes citing legal reasons. Bolling, for example, appeared on MSNBC’s Morning Joe earlier this week to talk about his work combating the opioid crisis (his son tragically died last year from an opioid-related overdose). But when the conversation turned to his departure from Fox, Bolling had nothing of substance to say. When co-host Mika Brzezinski asked him point-blank if he had ever sexually harassed anyone, Bolling would not answer, saying he couldn’t discuss it because of a lawsuit.
In O’Reilly’s case, in addition to hiding behind legal language or vague statements, he has been unapologetic and unrepentant. Months after his firing from Fox News, he booked an interview with Lauer on NBC’s Today; Media Matters wrote that the sit-down would be harmful unless it was a “deeply researched and responsible interview focused solely on the reports that he sexually harassed at least five women.” Instead, 4.5 million Americans were treated to a petulant back-and-forth between two sexual predators (though Lauer’s misconduct was not publicly known at the time). O’Reilly largely obfuscated, implying a legal reason for the silence, but still managed to attack one of his accusers on air.
Rose, too, has shown little interest in an actual reckoning for past behavior. Right around the time the news broke of his potential new comeback show (which one can only hope will never see the light of day), Rose was publicly partying with Woody Allen and dining with Sean Penn, who has been reported for domestic abuse. (Penn previously wrote a poem defending Rose, because reported predators stick together.) In a profile in The Hollywood Reporter published weeks before, sources close to Rose couldn’t agree on whether he’d yet acknowledged or grappled with any wrongdoing.
Beyond the question of whether a comeback is appropriate, there’s also the question of whether one is appropriate now.
The former workplaces of the media figures in question -- Fox News for Bolling and O’Reilly, CBS and PBS for Rose, and NBC for Lauer -- still have a lot of work to do when it comes to workplace culture. NBC, CBS, and Fox all launched some type of internal investigation following reports of sexual misconduct by their employees, and in some cases the investigations are brand new or still ongoing.
New details are still emerging in public reporting too, illuminating what is now clearly a much larger, more pervasive cultural issue than can be fixed by any one outlet firing any one individual (though it’s still a good start). In the case of Rose, The Washington Post published a follow-up investigation just this week, based on interviews with more than 100 people, that revealed an atmosphere at CBS that allowed Rose to reportedly harass employees for several decades without reproach. More information about the number and severity of harassment suits brought against O’Reilly continued to trickle out for months after his firing -- and public knowledge still may be incomplete.
Throughout these revelations, leaders at Fox, NBC, and CBS have denied knowledge of reported misconduct before it was made public.
How can media companies know a problem is “fixed” -- and that these particular media men are ready to return to airwaves -- when company leaders continue to apparently learn details about their own workplace culture from reporters and the courageous people willing to talk to them? Are they listening to their own employees only after they speak to reporters at other outlets? More importantly, have they created a culture in such dire need of fixing that employees felt they’d be heard only if they made their trauma public?
This is an industry and a society at the very beginning of a long reckoning, one whose leaders are at various points on their own pathways to understanding. Doling out second chances without a thorough examination of what went wrong the first time won’t fix a damn thing.
This is the big question -- the one that transcends any specific examples and will linger over any potential comeback, presently planned or in the future: Why do these men deserve second chances when society has deprived so many talented individuals of a first chance?
Newsrooms remain overwhelmingly white and male -- a remarkable homogeneity that itself is a risk factor for workplace harassment. Think of all the voices we’ve never heard because they were passed over to make room for Charlie Rose or Matt Lauer or Bill O’Reilly or Eric Bolling. Think of the kinds of people who are and aren’t valued, or listened to, or believed, in the media world, and the message that sends to viewers.
This big question also applies to people who’ve been pushed out of the media industry because of harassment. Ann Curry was reportedly forced out at Today after experiencing verbal harassment on set -- and after speaking to management about Lauer. Former Fox News figure Gretchen Carlson described the retaliation she faced after reporting harassment by Roger Ailes and current Fox & Friends co-host Steve Doocy; she left Fox days before filing her lawsuit against Ailes. One study found that 75 percent of employees who reported misconduct at work faced retaliation -- so Curry’s and Carlson’s stories probably represent countless others.
Nearly half of women media workers in a 2013 poll said they’d experienced sexual harassment on the job. And many of the #MeToo media stories have included heartbreaking asides from young journalists who experienced harassment and had their professional ambition destroyed. What about these people -- mostly young women -- who lost their dignity and their dreams, their first chance, at the hands of a powerful harasser like Lauer or Rose?
Perhaps we should focus on taking a chance on new voices that could make the world better instead of bestowing a “comeback” upon those who already used their first chance to make the world worse.
Update: The Fox & Friends tour has been removed from the event's website
UPDATE (4:46 p.m.): A Fox spokesperson told Erik Wemple, “We had no knowledge of this and we are not allowing Fox & Friends to be part of any donation package.” Additionally, Nick Adams denied that Hegseth was involved, telling Wemple, “FLAG acted on our own. The wording on the website was an honest mistake. The moment FLAG became aware of it, we took action to correct it.”
UPDATE (1:02 p.m.): The Fox & Friends tour has been removed from the event website.
Former Fox host Bill O’Reilly announced that he was appearing at Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., on April 21 for “An Evening With Bill O’Reilly.” The event is being sponsored by the Foundation for Liberty and American Greatness (FLAG), founded by Nick Adams, a regular on Fox News.
Ticket prices for the event start at $500, according to the event page. However, patrons who give contributions of more than $5,000 are rewarded with an “invitation to behind the scenes tour of Fox & Friends on April 18 unveiling the Students’ Declaration of Independence.”
Fox & Friends Weekend host Pete Hegseth is on the board of FLAG, along with prominent right-wing figures including former Rep. Allen West (R-FL), radio host Dennis Prager, Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk, and CNN’s Steve Cortes.
Bill O’Reilly was fired from Fox News a year ago in the wake of reports about multiple sexual harassment settlements involving him. He returned to Fox News in September as a guest of host Sean Hannity. He has also recently been credited as executive producer of the network’s historical series Legends and Lies.
On April 3, a federal judge denied a motion by former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly to seal settlement agreements made with women who say he sexually harassed them. According to CNN, the attorneys representing the plaintiffs said the terms of the agreements include requiring one of the women to lie -- even under oath -- and levying what CNN called “onerous” penalties to enforce the agreement. The agreements are yet more evidence of the toxic, enabling culture at Fox News, which reportedly helped O’Reilly sweep these accusations under the rug.
O’Reilly’s reported sexual harassment and abuse are now well-documented. The former Fox star was fired from the network after advertisers fled his show following a New York Times report that he had paid out at least $13 million to five women. It was later revealed that O’Reilly paid another woman $32 million to halt a sexual harassment lawsuit.
But O’Reilly did not act alone; he was enabled by Fox News, which has a long history of protecting sexual harassers and abusers and which has a culture described by one former employee as a “sex-fueled, Playboy mansion-like cult steeped in intimidation, indecency, and misogyny.” And, according to the Times, when one of O’Reilly’s accusers filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against him, “Fox News and Mr. O’Reilly adopted an aggressive strategy that served as a stark warning of what could happen to women if they came forward with complaints. … Before [former Fox producer Andrea] Mackris even filed suit, Fox News and Mr. O’Reilly surprised her with a pre-emptive suit of their own.”
Here are details about some of the terms of that settlement Fox allegedly helped O’Reilly secure, as reported by CNN:
The judge's ruling means that certain terms of the settlements are coming to light for the first time. A motion filed Wednesday by Neil Mullin and Nancy Erika Smith, the attorneys representing the three plaintiffs, claims that the settlement reached with Andrea Mackris, a former Fox News producer who filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against O'Reilly in 2004, required her to "lie -- even in legal proceedings or under oath -- if any evidence becomes public, by calling evidence 'counterfeit' or 'forgeries.'"
The potential penalties etched in the settlements were particularly onerous. If Mackris goes public about the details of the settlement, the agreement stated that she "shall return all sums paid under this Agreement, forfeit any future payments due under this Agreement, disgorge to O'Reilly the value of any benefit earned or received as a result of such disclosure, and pay to O'Reilly all reasonable attorney's fees and costs incurred by O'Reilly in attempting to enforce this Agreement."
The filing asserts that Mackris' attorney, Benedict Morelli, switched sides and agreed to become O'Reilly's lawyer while negotiating the agreement.
"This profoundly unethical conflict left Ms. Mackris virtually without legal counsel," the filing said.
Morelli disputed those assertions in a statement.
"We worked extremely hard to secure a significant financial settlement for her (Mackris)," he said. "The claim that I did not vigorously represent her, or that I represented O'Reilly during or after the settlement process, is absolutely false."
This post has been updated with Morelli's statement.
Serial sexual harasser to give commentary on speech by man who has openly bragged about committing sexual assault
Conservative outlet Newsmax will be hosting disgraced serial sexual predator Bill O’Reilly to “provide in-depth analysis” of President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address tomorrow night.
Newsmax announced on January 29 that O’Reilly will provide “live analysis” for Tuesday’s address by Trump -- with whom he has much in common -- on its Newsmax TV channel. In its press release, Newsmax CEO and close Trump friend Chris Ruddy said that O’Reilly’s “frank, no-holds-barred analysis is needed in American media more than ever.”
O’Reilly has settled at least six legal claims related to workplace sexual harassment over the course of 15 years, including one extremely notable settlement with former Fox analyst Lis Wiehl amounting to a whopping $32 million.
After O’Reilly departed from Fox News following The New York Times’ initial reporting on the settlements in April 2017, he was largely and rightfully relegated to recording audio and video clips in his home office for his personal website. And his handful of media appearances in recent months have illustrated exactly how little his “analysis” is needed.
And, to underscore the complete moral bankruptcy of Fox News and Sean Hannity, O’Reilly has several times appeared on Hannity’s radio show and on his Fox News show, sometimes to launch similar attacks. O’Reilly even appeared in person in the studio at Fox News, possibly sharing a space with women who’d been subjected to his harassment. (Fox heavily promoted O’Reilly’s return to its airwaves with zero shame about the number of women who’ve suffered at the hands of the network.)
Meanwhile, several lawmakers are planning to bring guests at the State of the Union who’ve spoken out about sexual harassment and assault. Will O’Reilly have anything to say about them?
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