A New York mayoral candidate and former Fox News contributor close to Roger Ailes says he was hired to spy on at least two women who accused the former Fox News chief and Bill O’Reilly of sexual harassment.
Bo Dietl, a former New York police detective and founder of the Beau Dietl & Associates private investigation firm, said he was hired by the network to discredit the harassment claims by former anchor Gretchen Carlson and former producer Andrea Mackris, according to a Thursday article published in the Wall Street Journal.
Carlson accused Ailes of sexual harassment last year and received a $20 million settlement in September. Mackris accused O’Reilly of sexual harassment in 2004 and settled for $9 million. Both Ailes and O’Reilly left the network after multiple accusations of harassment.
Dietl told the Journal he sent an investigator to eavesdrop on Mackris to try and show she wasn’t suffering despite claiming harassment.
Nancy Erika Smith, Carlson’s lawyer, questioned how effective Dietl had been.
“Whoever paid Bo Dietl to discredit Gretchen Carlson’s harassment and retaliation claims should seek a refund,” Smith said in an email.
A lawyer for Mackris did not respond to a request for comment. A Fox representative and Ailes’ lawyer declined to comment.
Dietl has received a public endorsement from Ailes on his website.
“I have known Bo Dietl both personally and professionally for many years. He does excellent work and personally is a man I trust. My experience with him is that he works tirelessly on behalf of his clients and by nature is a loyal man. I have recommended him to others in the past,” the Ailes quote says.
But in an interview with The Daily News on Friday, Dietl said he had never been hired by Ailes directly.
“I never did work for Roger Ailes,” Dietl said. “If you wanna take the fact that he was the president (of the network) and his general counsel hires an outside law firm that hires me to do work — for 32 years, then that’s my professional capacity. But as far as any of this hired by Roger Ailes to do black-ops and follow journalists and get dirt, it’s not getting dirt. It’s investigating.”
He said he had traveled to Virginia to see if Carlson had “some involvement with an anchor,” there while she was married.
Allegations from Carlson last year prompted a number of women to come forward with allegations of sexual harassment. Former anchors Greta Van Susteren and Megyn Kelly have also left the network in the last year.
In addition to Ailes and O’Reilly, co-president Bill Shine resigned earlier this month amid allegations he covered up or downplayed allegations of harassment.
Dietl continued to distance himself from the network Friday, saying that he was only hired by lawyers representing Fox.
This story has been updated with comment from Carlson’s lawyer and Dietl’s Friday interview.