Maintaining his innocence. Six months after being fired from Fox News, Bill O’Reilly returned to the small screen to deny the sexual harassment allegations that led to his departure from the network.
“If you look at the totality, this was a hit job — a political and financial hit job,” the journalist, 68, said on the Today show on Tuesday, September 19, in his first TV interview since losing his job in April.
“In 42 years, I’ve been in this business,” O’Reilly explained. “I’ve worked for 12 companies. Not any time have I had any interaction with HR, any complaints filed against me.”
The longtime Fox News host was fired in April, shortly after The New York Times reported that the network paid five women a total of $13 million in settlements to silence them from coming forward with sexual misconduct allegations against O’Reilly. The women’s claims came less than a year after the resignation of Fox News chairman Roger Ailes, who had also been accused of sexual harassment. (Alies died at age 77 in May.)
“After Roger Ailes went down, there was a flood of lawsuits — a flood — with dozens of people named,” O’Reilly told Today‘s Matt Lauer. “Those lawsuits involved many other people, not just me. I’m not going to speculate about intent or why people did what they did.”
The political commentator also said he didn’t bother to countersue his accusers because doing so would fail to serve a purpose. “I could do that but the collateral damage of these lawsuits, the press frenzy. Every allegation is a conviction,” he explained. “They don’t look for the truth.”
O’Reilly claimed Fox News did not give a specific reason for his firing. “Nobody is a perfect person but I can go to sleep at night very well knowing that I’ve never mistreated anyone on my watch in 42 years,” he said.
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