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Fox News Secretly Settled Bill O'Reilly Sexual Harassment Case: Reports

He allegedly pursued a sexual relationship with a fellow anchor in 2011.

01/10/2017 01:04 pm ET | Updated 4 days ago

Fox News settled a sexual harassment case involving anchor Bill O’Reilly in the days following Roger Ailes’ departure from the network last summer, several news outlets reported. 

Juliet Huddy, a former Fox on-air personality, alleged that O’Reilly “pursued a sexual relationship with her” in 2011, according to a letter from her lawyers obtained by The New York Times. Lawnewz.com first reported the settlement Monday.

“When she rebuffed his advances, he tried to derail her career,” the letter said. “He invited her to his house on Long Island, tried to kiss her, took her to dinner and the theater, and after asking her to return a key to his hotel room, appeared at the door in his boxer shorts.”

Gabriela Maj via Getty Images
Juliet Huddy, who left Fox News last September, reportedly accused Bill O'Reilly of having an "obsession" with her and making inappropriate sexual advances.

A second top network figure, Fox News co-president Jack Abernethy, also reportedly sought retaliation against Huddy for not wanting a personal relationship with him.

She was offered a “high six figures” sum in order to stay quiet, people briefed on the agreement told the Times.

21st Century Fox and O’Reilly’s lawyer, meanwhile, disputed the allegations. And a Fox News spokesperson said, “Juliet Huddy’s letter of intent to sue contained substantial falsehoods which both men vehemently denied.”

Huddy left the network last September.

New York Magazine’s Gabriel Sherman tweeted Tuesday that there may have been several secret settlements at the network.

Fox News has been engulfed by sexual harassment scandals for several months, even resulting in the departure of Ailes, the network’s former chairman and the man many credit for its explosive growth and popularity.

21st Century Fox reached a $20 million settlement with former anchor Gretchen Carlson after she launched a firestorm of accusations against Ailes last July. Several more women came forward with similar stories in the aftermath. Star anchor Megyn Kelly also accused him of making unwanted sexual advances. Kelly announced her departure from the network to join NBC News last week.

O’Reilly came to the defense of his former boss, telling NBC’s Seth Meyers that he stood behind Ailes “100 percent” in the face of the lawsuits.

The story has been updated with comment from Fox News.

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