Not long after a former Fox News employee called the network “a sex-fueled, Playboy mansion-like cult,” a legal website revealed the company has quietly reached another settlement with a former host after she accused co-president Jake Abernathy and host Bill O’Reilly of sexual harassment.
Juliet Huddy, who hosted “Fox & Friends Weekend” before moving on to “The O’Reilly Factor,” said the show’s host not only made unwanted advances towards her on multiple occasions, but he even tried to force himself on her when she visited his house.
In “a draft of the intent to sue letter” obtained by the LawNews, Huddy alleged O’Reilly made inappropriate phone calls to her and recounted an incident at a New York hotel where she attempted to “return a room key” to him.
Despite having “one of the highest rated segments,” the ex-employee said she was fired from the show because she continued to rebuff O’Reilly’s unwanted advances.
Eventually, Huddy left the cable news channel for Fox 5 New York, where she was given a 4:30 a.m. slot. Finally, after “20 challenging years” with Fox, she completely left the network in 2016.
As for Abernathy, Huddy claimed he sexually harassed her by “constantly calling her at the office and asking her to come by his office” when he was the CEO of Fox Television Stations.
At least three separate sources, including a former Fox News executive, reportedly confirmed the settlement amount “was in the high six figures” and that neither O’Reilly nor Abernethy would be paying anything out of their own pockets.
As The Wrap reports, Huddy departed from Fox News just a day after the network reached a settlement with former employee Gretchen Carlson whose claims of sexual harassment forced the Murdoch family to remove ex-CEO Roger Ailes from his executive position.
Previously, political analyst Andrea Tantaros alleged "The O’Reilly Factor" tried to lure her into a "very private" meeting on Long Island where he could see her “wild side.” Before that, in 2004, Fox producer Andrea Mackris sued him for repeatedly subjecting “her to sexual harassment through dinner and phone conversations variously described as lewd, lascivious, vile and threatening.”
O’Reilly reportedly settled the lawsuit for millions.
While it’s interesting how the network continues to settle for O’Reilly’s alleged misdeed instead of disciplining him, it is also safe to assume that this specific problem will persist as long as he is on air.