To hear Bill O’Reilly tell it, he’s just the target of a media hit job.
Appearing on Glenn Beck’s radio show Monday in the wake of a blockbuster New York Times report that revealed that the former Fox Host reached a massive settlement over sexual harassment allegations, O’Reilly claimed the claims against him are all part of a “hit job” by The Times, CNN and Media Matters to “get me out of the market.”
“This was a hit job to get me out of the market place and then you’ll have the left say ‘Oh, you’re paranoid,’ but I can back that up 50 different ways, okay?,” he said. “Media Matters is involved, CNN is involved and it’s beyond any doubt.”
On Saturday, The New York Times reported that O’Reilly reached a $32 million settlement with a former Fox News analyst, Lis Wiehl, after she accused him “of repeated harassment, a nonconsensual sexual relationship and the sending of gay pornography and other sexually explicit material.”
Saturday’s news follows reports from the Times in April that O’Reilly and Fox News had paid settlements to five women over the course of 15 years, at the cost of $13 million.
While O’Reilly reiterated multiple times in his interview with Beck that he “can’t comment specifically on any case that’s been resolved,” which puts him “at a disadvantage,” he said over the 20 years and six months he worked at Fox News, “never once was there any complaint filed against me with human resources or anybody’s legal team. Nothing. Zero,” he said, adding that he had, however, settled three “things.”
“And the only reason I did resolve them was to keep my children safe, so I can tell you that,” he said. “The The New York Times obviously hates me. It’s dishonest in the extreme. And it’s frustrating for me, but unless I want another seven or eight years of constant litigation, that puts my children in a kill zone, I have to maintain my discipline.”
He also said The New York Times wants to equate him with Harvey Weinstein and take him out of the market forever, so he “never gets to comment on issues again.”
In the latest Times story about the Wiehl allegations, reporters Emily Steel and Michael Schmidt clearly mentioned the affidavit that Wiehl signed, dropping all claims against O’Reilly and Fox News after the settlement was resolved, but that didn’t go far enough for O’Reilly.
He said they should have “printed” the whole affidavit and “you should have printed it up top because that’s the story.” He also called Schmidt a “weasel” and the “most dishonest man on the face of the earth.”
“I want the story to go away because it’s brutalizing my family. … I’m not going to run and hide because I didn’t do anything wrong, and I think the evidence we put forward is very strong, very compelling that the New York Times wants to take me out of the marketplace,” he said.
O’Reilly’s so-called “evidence” includes the Wiehl affidavit and “letters” that he posted on his website from former Fox News hosts Megyn Kelly and Gretchen Carlson, which he thinks prove “the truth.” The letters are handwritten notes supposedly from Kelly and Carlson, thanking him for things like baby gifts and for “being my friend,” but there’s no date on either of the notes.