With no platform left on cable, Bill O’Reilly was forced to stop by the radio show of another ex-Fox News host Monday to make his case against the vast conspiracy of mainstream news organizations he believes are trying to get him “out of the marketplace.” It’s almost as if he doesn’t realize he’s already gone.
Asked by Beck how he’s doing today, O’Reilly sighed and said, “Taking a beating, but still standing.” Those comments follow a tough weekend of press for the one-time king of cable news, who was ousted by Fox News earlier this year following years of sexual harassment allegations and settlements. Now, The New York Times has reported that Fox renewed his contract even after a $32 million settlement with former Fox legal analyst Lis Wiehl.
Despite it all, O’Reilly was as defiant as ever in his radio appearance.
“What I'm trying to get across by coming on with you is two things: First, I want the story to go away because it's brutalizing my family,” he said. “Number two, I'm not going to run and hide because I didn't do anything wrong.” Echoing President Donald Trump, he directed his anger at the Times for reporting the story in the first place.
“This was a hit job to get me out of the marketplace,” he said, drawing other outlets into what he sees as a conspiracy to take him down. “Media Matters is involved, CNN is involved, that is beyond any doubt."
“It's very frustrating for me being accused of everything under the sun and being linked with Harvey Weinstein,” O’Reilly added of the Hollywood producers and accused rapist. “This is dishonest in the extreme and it's frustrating, but unless I want another seven or eight years of litigation that puts my children in the 'kill zone,' I have to maintain my discipline.”
O’Reilly also attempted to discredit two of his former colleagues—Megyn Kelly and Gretchen Carlson—who both accused Ailes of sexual harassment, by reading aloud from polite notes they sent him over the years. The handwritten letters, which he also posted on his website, contain kind words of thanks for attending a baby shower or blurbing a book. Carlson’s note even includes a hand-drawn heart. In O’Reilly’s mind, they apparently serve as proof that he couldn’t have done anything wrong.
Asked last week in a podcast interview with Katie Couric what she says to critics who note that she wrote nice things about Ailes in her book, Carlson said, “It’s a classic sign of someone who’s going through sexual harassment to do everything in their power to try and improve their situation in the workplace. And that includes writing flowery and smiley-face notes.”
Kelly, Carlson and the rest of the women at Fox News had to work with O’Reilly on a daily basis and did what they could to get through it.
Both in his fiery interview with the Times and on Beck’s show Monday afternoon, O’Reilly insisted that no one at Fox had ever filed a complaint against him. “Not one time was there any complaint filed against me. Nothing, zero!” he told Beck. “So I think my track record speaks for itself.”
But as Megyn Kelly revealed on her NBC show Monday, she personally wrote to the two co-presidents of Fox in November 2016 to speak out against O’Reilly after he dismissed claims of harassment against Roger Ailes in an interview with CBS This Morning. In that email, published on the Today show’s website, Kelly calls out O’Reilly’s “history of harassment of women,” adding, “You’ve got a hell of a guy hosting that 8pm hour.”
Five months later, O’Reilly was out.