Former Fox News Channel host Bill O’Reilly spent the weekend taking issue with a New York Times report that he’d come to a $32 million settlement in regard to sexually harassing another Fox News personality. One of O’Reilly’s talking points: that no one at the network had ever complained to human resources about his behavior.
“In the more than 20 years Bill O’Reilly worked at Fox News, not one complaint was filed against him with the Human Resources Department or Legal Department by a coworker, even on the anonymous hotline,” a statement O’Reilly’s team released Saturday says.
On Monday, O’Reilly’s former Fox colleague Megyn Kelly used her new hour at Today to say that is simply not true.
“O’Reilly’s suggestion that no one ever complained about his behavior is false. I know, because I complained,” Kelly said at the top of her portion of the NBC morning show.
Kelly revealed details about a never-before-released email she sent to the network’s then co-presidents Bill Shine and Jack Abernathy in November 2016. That morning, O’Reilly had been a guest on CBS This Morning, and when asked about the allegations of sexual harassment against network chief Roger Ailes Kelly leveled in her memoir, Settle for More, O’Reilly responded, “I want to be very candid here: I’m not that interested in this… I’m not interested in making my network look bad. At all. That doesn’t interest me one bit.”
Kelly’s email took issue with O’Reilly’s comments, noting that he had a “history of harassment with women.” On Monday, she told viewers that the 2016 incident — including the network’s response to it — “speaks volumes about powerful men and the roadblocks one can face in taking them on.” And though she says she was told O’Reilly had been dealt with, he then repeated similar statements on The O’Reilly Factor that evening.
“This is not unique to Fox News. Women everywhere are used to being dismissed, ignored or attacked when raising complaints about men in authority positions,” she continued Monday. “They stay silent so often out of fear. Fear of ending their careers. Fear of lawyers, yes, and fear of the media.”
Kelly’s guest on Monday’s show was Juliette Huddy, a former Fox News anchor who settled with the network after bringing her own sexual harassment allegations against O’Reilly. Huddy said she was “terrified” by what Fox News has the power to do against people who speak out against it.
During the broadcast, Kelly also read a statement from 21st Century Fox, which owns the news network:
21st Century Fox has taken concerted action to transform Fox News, including installing new leaders, overhauling management and on-air talent, expanding training and increasing the channels through which employees can report harassment or discrimination. These changes come from the top, with Lachlan and James Murdoch personally leading the effort to promote civility and respect on the job while maintaining the company’s long-held commitment to a diverse, inclusive and creative workplace.
At the end of her emotional speech at the top of the hour, Kelly said, “It gives me no pleasure to report such news about my former employer which has, absolutely, made some reforms since all of this went down.But this must stop.”
Press PLAY on the video above to watch Kelly discuss her former employer, then hit the comments with your thoughts.