Bill O’Reilly’s exit from Fox News arrived largely at the hand of New York Times reporter Emily Steel, who co-authored the exposé detailing the former Fox News host’s settlement payments (totaling $13 million) paid to five women who accused him of sexual harassment. (Another juicy detail there was that O’Reilly had threatened Steel in 2015 over her critical article about his alleged embellishment of his Falklands reporting.) Over the weekend, Steel, along with Michael Schmidt, published another report about how O’Reilly paid a sixth accuser $32 million, which — as Gretchen Carlson noted — is not something that one does if one has done nothing wrong.
O’Reilly complained all weekend that he was being “smeared” and wanted to discuss the matter with Steel and Schmidt, so he appeared with them on Monday morning’s edition of The Daily (a NY Times podcast) to complain about how awful this ordeal has been for him. Despite $45 million in settlements, O’Reilly still finds his plight to be a shock? Here’s more:
“It’s been a horrendous experience. I’ve never had one complaint filed against me by a co-worker in any human-resources department in 43 years. That encompasses 12 different companies. So all of the sudden this stuff happens and the pain it brings to my children is indescribable.”
Well, it’s not shocking to hear that O’Reilly was surprised that he was fired. After all, Fox News re-upped his contract a month after the reported $32 million settlement, so he probably thought no harm had been done to his career. Yet O’Reilly grew testier on the podcast after Steel and Schmidt turned their microphones off but left their phones on “record”:
“This is crap. It’s politically and financially motivated. We can prove it with shocking information. We have physical proof that this is bullsh*t.“
Over the weekend, O’Reilly directed people to his website while vowing that the “verifiable truth” would emerge, and his spokesperson also accused the NY Times of omitting an affidavit signed by O’Reilly’s sixth accuser in the course of her settlement. However, Schmidt did fire back and point out that the affidavit was mentioned multiple times in the latest report, so if O’Reilly’s got “physical proof” that he’s innocent, he hasn’t produced said proof.
What is crystal clear, however, is that O’Reilly’s had it out for Emily Steel since 2015, and he can’t stand that she effectively ended his TV career.
(Via New York Times & The Daily Beast)