21st Century Fox (NASDAQ: FOXA), the parent company of Fox News Channel, confirmed reports that it is investigating the sexual harassment allegations against Bill O’Reilly, the host of the popular television news and talk show, The O’Reilly Factor.
In a statement, 21st Century Fox said it is looking into all complaints against Mr. O’Reilly and “asked the law firm, Paul, Weiss to continue assisting the company in these serious matters.”
The company’s move came after dozens of companies pulled their advertisements from The O’Reilly Factor in response to the report of the New York Times detailing the sexual harassment cases against the talk show host. The newspaper also reported that Fox and Mr. O’Reilly agreed to pay $13 million to settle the cases filed by five women.
Mr. O’Reilly denied the sexual harassment accusations against him. He said people like him are “vulnerable to lawsuits” from individuals who wants him to pay them to avoid negative publicity. He said, “The worst part of my job is being a target for those who would harm me and my employer.”
Nobody can silence me
Last week, Wendy Walsh, a psychologist and a former regular guest on The O’Reilly Factor filed a case against Mr. O’Reilly. During a news conference, her lawyer, Lisa Bloom provided details about Ms. Walsh’s allegations against the TV host.
According to Atty. Bloom, Mr. O’Reilly told Ms. Walsh during a dinner in Los Angeles in 2013 that he would recommend her for a paid contributor position on Fox. However, when she refused his invitation to go to his hotel room after the dinner, Mr. O’Reilly’s attitude towards her changed, and she was eventually dropped from the TV program.
Ms. Walsh told AP that she came forward after learning from a Times reported that many of the women who filed sexual harassment cases against Mr. O’Reilly were restricted by gag orders.
“Nobody can silence me because my voice is not for sale,” said Ms. Walsh, who is not bound by any gag order.
On Monday afternoon, Ms. Walsh and her lawyer had a two-hour interview over the phone with four lawyers representing Fox News.
In an interview with CNN’s Brian Stelter, Atty. Bloom said she was informed about 21st Century Fox’s investigation on Friday.
“I told them we really appreciate that and let’s get going as soon as possible. And so I am told that they are taking it seriously and they are going to do the investigation that’s legally required of them,” said Bloom to Stelter.
The O’Reilly Factor beats Dancing with the Stars’ social ratings
Last week, The O’Reilly Factor became one of the most discussed TV shows on Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) and Twitter (NYSE: TWTR) after the New York Times report indicating that Mr. O’Reilly and Fox News settled the sexual harassment cases for $13 million.
The O’Reilly Factor’s episode on April 4 and April 5 episodes gained 249,000 and 236,000 interactions on social media, ranking 7th and 8th, respectively in Nielsen’s top ten social media ratings this year
The talk show program surpassed highly social programs such as Dancing with the Stars with 232 interactions and The Voice with 178,000 interactions.
The O’Reilly Factor is the most popular cable news TV program in the first quarter of 2017. Fox News was also the highest-rated in the history of cable news when it comes to total day viewership during the period based on data from Nielsen.
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