Sinclair Broadcast Group is continuing talks with former Fox News star host Bill O’Reilly despite news that the former host struck a $32 million settlement agreement related to accusations of sexual harassment, NBC News reported Wednesday.
NBC News reported, citing two unnamed sources familiar with negotiations between O’Reilly and Sinclair, that O’Reilly has been negotiating for a position at the conservative media company.
O’Reilly left Fox News in April amid accusations of sexual harassment. The New York Times reported in April that at least five women took a total of $13 million in settlements from O’Reilly or 21st Century Fox related to allegations of such misconduct.
On Saturday, the New York Times reported that O’Reilly in January struck a $32 million settlement agreement with former Fox News legal analyst Lis Wiehl over allegations “of repeated harassment, a nonconsensual sexual relationship and the sending of gay pornography and other sexually explicit material” to Wiehl.
According to NBC News, one source said that Sinclair and O’Reilly “took a pause” but the allegations against the former Fox host “didn’t really change anything for them.”
One source said, according to the report, that O’Reilly and the conservative broadcasting company are “about midway” through their talks.
“They want to do something anti-CNN, anti-MSNBC,” one source told NBC News.
Sinclair in May denied that the network was courting O’Reilly or Fox News anchor Sean Hannity. The company did not respond to NBC News’ requests for comment about any negotiations with O’Reilly.
Sinclair is one of the few networks, along with Fox News, that has not come under attack by President Donald Trump, who often criticizes CNN and NBC News.
Politico in December 2016 reported that Trump’s campaign struck a deal with Sinclair to exchange access for uncritical coverage. Affiliate station WJLA in February was one of the few outlets Trump called on during a series of press conferences where he exclusively took questions from conservative news outlets, and in April, Sinclair announced it had hired former White House aide Boris Epshteyn.