11 Women Have Made Harassment Allegations Against Bill O’Reilly and Roger Ailes
The total number of women who have made allegations of harassment against Fox News heavyweights is now into double digits.
On Monday morning, Politico published a suit filed by Fox News contributor Julie Roginsky against the network, its former chairman Rogers Ailes, and president Bill Shine, alleging that they “unlawfully harassed, discriminated against, and retaliated against Roginsky and sabotaged her career.” This makes her the eleventh woman to-date to accuse Ailes or Bill O’Reilly, host of the network’s The O’Reilly Factor, of harassment.
News of Roginsky’s suit comes just a few days after the New York Times published the results of an investigation that found that a total of five women have received payouts from either O’Reilly or the network itself in exchange for agreeing to not take legal action or speak about their accusations against the conservative personality. According to the publication, the agreements totaled about $13 million.
While two sets of claims against O’Reilly were previously known, the other three came to light as a result of the Times‘ investigation.
While details of each individual claim against O’Reilly vary, the Times writers note that their “reporting suggests a pattern: As an influential figure in the newsroom, Mr. O’Reilly would create a bond with some women by offering advice and promising to help them professionally. He then would pursue sexual relationships with them, causing some to fear that if they rebuffed him, their careers would stall.”
The descriptor is not dissimilar to allegations made by Ailes’ alleged victims, a group that former Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly describes in her memoir as an “underground army of women” who tolerated years of harassment because of fear of retaliation. “The stakes were very high; our jobs were potentially in danger, and Roger was digging in for a fight,” she writes in Settle for More.
Ailes left Fox News last summer after former host Gretchen Carlson filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against him. In the aftermath, several other women, including Kelly, reportedly stepped forward with similar allegations.
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In addition to Carlson, Kelly, and Roginsky, Ailes’ accusers include former Fox News reporter Rudi Bakhtiar and former GOP communications consultant Kellie Boyle. O’Reilly’s accusers include former Fox News producer Andrea Mackris, former Fox Business host Rebecca Gomez Diamond, and former regular guests Wendy Walsh and Juliet Huddy.
Former Fox News hosts Andrea Tantaros and Laurie Dhue have sued both O’Reilly and Ailes for alleged sexual harassment.
O’Reilly, like Ailes before him, has denied all accusations. In a statement posted Saturday, he wrote: “Just like other prominent and controversial people, I’m vulnerable to lawsuits from individuals who want me to pay them to avoid negative publicity. In my more than 20 years at Fox News Channel, no one has ever filed a complaint about me with the Human Resources Department, even on the anonymous hotline.” (Fox News declined to comment beyond backing O’Reilly’s statement.)
The host has also been in hot water recently after making a comment on Fox & Friends last week that was widely perceived as racist and sexist. The Fox News host responded to footage of black Congresswoman Maxine Waters speaking out against President Donald Trump and the Republican party by saying he “didn’t hear a word she said. I was looking at the James Brown wig.” O’Reilly apologized the same day, calling the comment “dumb.”