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We’re as shocked as you are that Fox settled sexual harassment claims against Bill O’Reilly

Photo: Noam Galai / Getty Images
Photo: Noam Galai / Getty Images

Who would have thought that a conservative political pundit whose personal brand hovers somewhere between “you’ll understand when you’re older” and “it’s cute that you think that” would end up having issues with entitlement? We know, we didn’t want to believe it either. But the sad truth is that, as The New York Times reports, Fox News quietly settled a sexual harassment case against Bill O’Reilly in the weeks after his buddy Roger Ailes was ousted from the network on similar charges.

The charges were brought by a former employee of the network, Juliet Huddy, who says that O’Reilly aggressively (and creepily) pursued a sexual relationship with her in 2011, “at a time he exerted significant influence over her career.” Said pursuits allegedly include repeated harassing phone calls, invitations to his home, attempts to kiss her and woo her with dinners and shows, and an incident where, “after asking her to return a key to his hotel room,” O’Reilly “appeared at the door in his boxer shorts.” And because he just would not take the fucking hint—or, more likely, viewed Huddy as an object to be acquired—he (allegedly) did his best to ruin her career after she rebuffed him in no uncertain terms.

That’s all alleged in a letter sent by Huddy’s lawyer sent to Fox News and obtained by The New York Times. Fox unequivocally denies that there’s any truth to Huddy’s claims, but settled the case for a sum in “the high six figures” in early September, around the same time it was settling the sexual harassment lawsuit brought by former Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson that expedited Ailes’ departure from the company. O’Reilly, meanwhile, is still on the air every weekday night at 8 p.m., and by all accounts as smug as ever.

This isn’t the first time O’Reilly’s been charged with sexual harassment: A producer on his show sued him on similar charges in 2004 in a highly publicized case that was eventually settled for millions.

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