Andrea Mackris, the woman who had accused Fox News star Bill O’Reilly of harassment 17 years ago, is finally speaking out. She did so mid-July in an exclusive interview with The Daily Beast’s media reporter Diana Falzone, and she’s speaking up again on this special episode of The New Abnormal podcast with Diana and host Molly Jong-Fast.
Mackris never wanted to be silent, but her non-disclosure agreement (NDA) with Fox made it that way—until now.
“My act of breaking it is almost an act of self-defense. You know, it's like, no matter what he tries to do to me, I'm going to be OK,” she tells Molly.
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So what exactly did he do? Mackris recalls the dinner where it all began, when he told her to get a vibrator and find a younger man. When he turned to her at the end of it to tell her to “stick with him,” and she’ll go far, she knew something terrible had begun: “His face changed in front of me. It was terrifying.”
She walks Molly through what it was like to report, why she claims her NDA was “forced arbitration” and, through tears, claims that Fox News’ chief legal counsel, Dianne Brandi, destroyed her taped evidence.
Mackris says she couldn’t depend on her own lawyers, one of whom she alleges “bullied and coerced” her to sign the NDA. “He slammed his hands down. He said, ‘You didn't hire us to go to trial. You hired us to stop him. This is as good as it gets.’” she recounts. (Falzone shares Fox’s response to these claims in the episode).
She knows what is at stake by sharing this information—her NDA was a $9 million settlement—but she says whatever she may have to pay as a consequence will be worth it: “If I have to pay a breach, it's less than the cost of the past 17 years. I'll tell you that I welcome the risk because this is intolerable.”