Fox News Channel quietly has settled sexual harassment claims against Bill O’Reilly and Jack Abernethy, who took over as co-president of Fox News after Roger Ailes stepped down last year amid similar allegations, according to multiple reports.
According to accounts first reported by Newslaw.com and subsequently confirmed by the New York Times, former Fox News host Juliet Huddy, who left the network in September, claims that O’Reilly tried to derail her career after she rebuffed his many sexual advances.
In one incident cited in a draft of a letter from her lawyers to Fox News, O’Reilly invited her to dinner and to the theater, and when he asked her to return a key to his hotel room, he appeared at the door in his boxer shorts. The letter also claims that he repeatedly called her at her home, and, according to the Times, “it sometimes sounded like he was masturbating.”
The letter claims Abernethy also tried to woo her and, according to the Times, “retaliated against her professionally after she made clear that she was not interested in a personal relationship.”
O’Reilly and Abernethy have flatly denied the allegations. “The letter contains substantial falsehoods, which both men have vehemently denied,” Fox News spokeswoman Irena Briganti said in a statement.
According to Newslaw.com, the settlement was in the “high six figures.”