Bill O’Reilly Under Investigation by Fox Over Sexual Harassment Claims
Twenty-First Century Fox, which owns Fox News, began an investigation into sexual harassment claims made against Bill O’Reilly last week by Wendy Walsh, a Los Angeles–based radio host, according to the Washington Post. Walsh and her lawyer, Lisa Bloom, recorded a phone call they made to the Fox complaint hotline last week and posted it to YouTube.
Walsh, who was a guest on The O’Reilly Factor, alleges that O’Reilly reneged on a job offer to her after she refused to join him in his hotel suite in 2013. O’Reilly denies this charge.
Walsh and her lawyer say that she is not seeking financial payment.
“We will fully cooperate with any investigation,” says Bloom.
“Again, Wendy is not seeking any money, just accountability.”
News broke last weekend that O’Reilly and Fox News paid five different women a combined $13 million to settle previous claims of sexual misconduct. O’Reilly insisted he is innocent of those allegations as well.
Fox instructed the law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison to conduct the investigation. The company released a statement announcing its decision: “21st Century Fox investigates all complaints and we have asked the law firm Paul Weiss to continue assisting the company in these serious matters.”
The same firm led the investigation last year into former Fox News CEO Roger Ailes, which led to his departure over similar sexual harassment allegations. Walsh’s lawyer has expressed doubts about Paul Weiss’s ability to conduct a proper, unbiased investigation:
Let's be clear: the Paul Weiss firm has an ethical obligation to zealously represent the interests of Fox News. They're not "independent" 3/
— Lisa Bloom (@LisaBloom) April 10, 2017
The National Organization for Women has also called for an independent investigation of what it calls a “culture of sexual harassment at Fox News.”
In recent days, at least 20 advertisers have stopped buying ads on The O’Reilly Factor. Fox initially stood behind their beleaguered host, but news of the current investigation may indicate that public pressure is having a serious effect.