Report: Fox Extended O’Reilly’s Contract Despite New Harassment Claims

Fox News reportedly extended its contract with host Bill O’Reilly earlier this year, even after the TV personality struck an enormous $32 million settlement with a woman who accused him of sexual harassment. According to the New York Times, the cable network’s parent company was fully aware of the settlement—by far the largest of six payouts O’Reilly or Fox made to settle sexual misconduct claims—when it decided to grant him a four-year contract extension worth $25 million a year last February. The $32 million sum was agreed upon to settle allegations of repeated harassment, a nonconsensual sexual relationship, and the sending of gay pornography and other sexually explicit material to a veteran Fox News analyst, according to the Times. Top executives at 21st Century Fox, including Rupert Murdoch and his sons, reportedly decided to stand by O’Reilly despite the allegations, at a time when the network was trying to clean up its image after the Roger Ailes sexual harassment scandal the previous summer. O’Reilly was fired in April only after federal prosecutors probing allegations against Ailes began shifting their attention to the claims against O’Reilly, according to the report.