A number of new developments popped up today in Bill O’Reilly’s sexual harassment scandal that continues while he’s on “vacation” from Fox News. This happened, of course, following dozens of advertiser pullouts after news that he and 21st Century Fox had paid out a combined total of $13 million to five women who accused him of sexual harassment. Attorney Lisa Bloom also introduced an accuser who said O’Reilly offered to hire her in exchange for her affections, and Bloom hinted that more accusers were coming.
And yep, another woman has stepped up to provide some excruciatingly bizarre details in her accusations against the host. The unidentified clerical worker, who is black, alleges that O’Reilly referred to her as “hot chocolate” while openly leering at her. This woman wasn’t yet an employee of Fox News in 2008 (which is when she says this stuff happened) but somehow had a desk that was situated closely to O’Reilly’s office. She said his advances included, uh, grunting like a wild animal, via Hollywood Reporter:
“He would never talk to her, not even hello, except to grunt at her like a wild boar. He would leer at her. He would always do this when no one else was around and she was scared. She was afraid if she told him to knock it off she’d get fired. Now that’s shes aware this is all in the news, she’s decided to phone in a complaint to the Fox News hotline.”
If true, yes, this is some bonkers behavior. Fox recently announced that they are investigating the claims against O’Reilly, and they’re using the same attorney who dug into the Roger Ailes scandal, which ended in his ousting.
Meanwhile, New York magazine’s Gabriel Sherman — who had all the inside scoops on the Ailes matter — says that discussions are “fraught” within the Murdoch family about what to do with O’Reilly. Rupert Murdoch is reportedly getting the nudge from his sons to let the host go:
With only six days remaining in Bill O’Reilly’s vacation, the pressure on the Murdoch family to decide the embattled commentator’s fate is intensifying. Three sources with knowledge of the discussions said that, while no final decision has been made, the Murdochs are leaning toward announcing that O’Reilly will not return to the air. Sons James and Lachlan have been arguing that O’Reilly needs to go, say these sources, though their father, Rupert, has resisted that outcome.
Sherman adds “morale is awful” at Fox News for multiple reasons related to the O’Reilly scandal:
Female Fox News employees are growing increasingly frustrated that the Murdochs have not forcefully confronted the company’s culture of sexual harassment in the wake of removing Roger Ailes … [and] employees are wondering if budgets have been cut to pay for sexual-harassment settlements.
Meanwhile, the tide keeps rolling. On Monday, 450 sexual assault survivors issued an open letter to call for O’Reilly’s firing, and here’s multiple boxes containing “480,000 petitions calling for Bill O’Reilly’s termination,” which landed at the Fox News offices on Tuesday afternoon.