Dec 4, 2017

Woman who settled with Bill O'Reilly sues for defamation

O'Reilly has been involved in six publicly known sexual harassment settlements totaling $45 million. Photo: Richard Drew / AP

Rachel Witlieb Bernstein, one of six women known to have reached a harassment settlement with Fox News host Bill O'Reilly, sued both Fox and O'Reilly for defamation and breach of contract on Monday, the New York Times reports. Neither O'Reilly nor the network could immediately be reached for comment.

The details: Bernstein's lawsuit claims that O'Reilly's repeated statements discounting the truth of the allegations against him were damaging to her reputation and depicted her as a liar.

The big picture: The suit also highlights questions around legal systems that silence victims of harassment with nondisclosure agreements — an issue that has been brought to the forefront of conversations about harassment in light of the recent flood of allegations against prominent men. The agreement that Bernstein signed forbade her from defending herself against O'Reilly's statements.

Neil Mullin, one of Bernstein's lawyers, told the Times: "It is cowardly to publicly attack these women knowing they have been subjected to contractual provisions requiring absolute silence."

Correction: This story has been amended to reflect that the harassment accusations Berstein leveled against O'Reilly were not allegations of sexual harassment.

Go deeper