Gretchen Carlson has come out swinging against her former network after a report that Fox News offered its former anchor Bill O’Reilly a contract renewal despite knowledge of sexual harassment allegations against him.
“It’s horrifying to think that any company would dismiss an employee following multiple allegations of sexual harassment and then allow him back on the air a few months later,” Carlson said in a statement Saturday.
The New York Times reported Saturday that in January, O’Reilly had reached a $32 million settlement with a network analyst who had alleged sexual harassment claims against the host, which reportedly included claims of a non-consensual sexual relationship. 21st Century Fox was aware of these complaints, the Times reported, but still renewed his contract in February for $25 million a year. O’Reilly was fired in April, after the Times reported five women were paid a collective $13 million to stay silent about their harassment allegations against him.
In a statement on O’Reilly’s website, his spokesman wrote that the Times “maliciously smeared” his client.
“The Times printed leaked information provided by anonymous sources that is out of context, false, defamatory, and obviously designed to embarrass Bill O’Reilly and to keep him from competing in the marketplace,” his spokesman wrote.
Carlson, who filed her own sexual harassment lawsuit against embattled former Fox News CEO Roger Ailes in 2016, had her own reply on Twitter.
“Nobody pays $32m for false allegations – nobody,” she wrote.