Bill O & # 39; Reilly is sued by woman who solved accusations of harassment –

Bill O & # 39; Reilly is sued by woman who solved accusations of harassment


A woman who reached an agreement with Bill O & # 39; Reilly for harbadment allegations sued Mr. O & # 39; Reilly and Fox News on Monday for defamation and breach of contract, saying that public statements he and The network they did violated the agreement and portrayed her as a liar and politically motivated extortionist.

The woman, Rachel Witlieb Bernstein, is one of six known to have reached settlements after making accusations against Mr. O & # 39; Reilly. None of the others has said anything publicly about their claims.

Mr. O & # 39; Reilly has repeatedly said that the harbadment allegations that led to her expulsion from Fox News in April have no merit, that she never mistreated anyone and that she resolved matters privately to protect her children.

"In fact, Mr. O & # 39; Reilly is the liar," states the lawsuit, which was filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. "He mistreated Ms. Bernstein, she was forced to leave her job on Fox News and she paid an agreement because of her mistreatment."

Agreements involving harbadment allegations often contain strict confidentiality and non-deterrence clauses, that some labor lawyers have said to build a culture of silence on these issues and allow the misconduct to continue.

Ms. Bernstein's lawyers, Neil Mullin and Nancy Erika Smith, have openly criticized the use of non-disclosure agreements and non-dissent clauses to silence victims of harbadment. They represented former Fox News presenter Gretchen Carlson in her July 2016 lawsuit alleging that she was harbaded by the network's founding president, Roger Ailes. Following the lawsuit, the problems of badual harbadment on Fox News came to public view.

"Knowing that the other victims of Mrs. Bernstein and Mr. O & # 39; Reilly are afraid to speak because he and Fox forced them to sign confidentiality agreements., O & # 39; Reilly and Fox have done false and derogatory statements, "Mullin said in a statement. "They must release all the victims of their NDA and let out the truth, cowardly attacking these women publicly knowing that they have been subjected to contractual provisions that require absolute silence."

The representatives of Fox News and O & # 39; Reilly could not be contacted immediately for comment.

Mrs. Bernstein, in her lawsuit, said she had reached an agreement with Fox News and Mr. O & # 39; Reilly in July 2002 after she made repeated complaints about her behavior to the network's human resources department and others. executives The agreement included a confidentiality agreement, which prevented both parties from speaking about the dispute, as well as a non-dissipation clause.

The New York Times reported on Ms. Bernstein's agreement in April as part of an investigation that exposed how the network stood alongside Mr. O'Reilly while facing a series of harbadment allegations. The Times reported that the network was aware of complaints involving Mr. O & # 39; Reilly since at least 2002, when, according to current and former employees who witnessed the incident, they burst into the newsroom and shouted at him to Mrs. Bernstein. Mrs. Bernstein soon left the network. (Their allegations did not include badual harbadment).

The exact amount of Ms. Bernstein's agreement was not known, but it was much less than the other five publicly known settlements involving Mr. O & # 39; Reilly. The six settlements totaled approximately $ 45 million, including one for $ 32 million.

In her lawsuit, Ms. Bernstein said that she was not the source of the information printed in the Times article.

Mrs. Bernstein claims that statements made by O & # 39; Reilly and Fox News in response to the article disparaged and defamed and violated the confidentiality clause of the agreement, which required that if asked about the dispute, the parties could respond by saying: " The matter has been resolved (or resolved). "

" O & # 39; Reilly described himself as an 'objective' and claimed that the complaints against him are exorbitant, "the lawsuit said. from Mrs. Bernstein. "This is false, in fact, he is a serial abuser and Ms. Bernstein's complaints about him were far from exorbitant."

Mrs. Bernstein said Fox News had made a "deliberately misleading" statement by claiming that no current or former Fox News employee ever used a hotline to report complaints about Mr. O & # 39; Reilly. He said there was no direct line on Fox News during his employment and that he had repeatedly complained to Fox News' human resources department, as well as other executives, about Mr. O & # 39; Reilly's behavior.

"This cynical falsehood about a non-existent hotline was made to reinforce O & # 39; Reilly's claim that women who received agreements must have fabricated their claims or complained," Smith said in a statement. "But Ms. Bernstein complained, there is ample evidence that Fox News, with the complicity of top executives, allowed the abuse of women for many years, and then silenced them through non-disclosure agreements and non-deterrence clauses."

In the lawsuit, Ms. Bernstein said that she had suffered reputational damage, emotional distress, physical illness and loss of income as a result of statements made by Mr. O & # 39; Reilly and Fox News.

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