While we already knew that two women had worked out hush money deals with O’Reilly, the newspaper has found three more women—bringing the total number paid out by O’Reilly or the network to five—who have accused Billo the Bully of sexist comments, verbal abuse, unwanted advances, and (cover your eyes) phone calls “in which it sounded as if Mr. O’Reilly was masturbating,” The Times reports.
In exchange for not suing O’Reilly or talking about the incidents, the alleged victims were paid some $13 million by the news host and his network.
According to the investigation:
The reporting suggests a pattern: As an influential figure in the newsroom, Mr. O’Reilly would create a bond with some women by offering advice and promising to help them professionally. He then would pursue sexual relationships with them, causing some to fear that if they rebuffed him, their careers would stall.
O’Reilly allegedly targeted women employees and network guests.
21st Century Fox, Fox News’ parent company, responded to the report with this statement, sent to The New York Times:
21st Century Fox takes matters of workplace behavior very seriously. Notwithstanding the fact that no current or former Fox News employee ever took advantage of the 21st Century Fox hotline to raise a concern about Bill O’Reilly, even anonymously, we have looked into these matters over the last few months and discussed them with Mr. O’Reilly. While he denies the merits of these claims, Mr. O’Reilly has resolved those he regarded as his personal responsibility. Mr. O’Reilly is fully committed to supporting our efforts to improve the environment for all our employees at Fox News.
And we all know how reliable Bill O’Reilly’s word is. But just in case, the Fox news host hired a crisis communications expert to handle any backlash The Times’ investigation is likely to prompt. In another statement, O’Reilly played the victim game, saying he was a target because he so “prominent and controversial.”
And he dragged his kids into the mess, telling the Times, “I’m a father who cares deeply for my children and who would do anything to avoid hurting them in any way. And so I have put to rest any controversies to spare my children.”