As TFPP covered over the weekend, the New York Times’ latest report on the sexual harassment allegations that got Bill O’Reilly fired from Fox News reveals that the network had previously renewed his contract after O’Reilly had paid a whopping $32 million to settle a case against him from legal analyst and former frequent guest Lis Wiehl.
We also reported on O’Reilly’s response, which included an affidavit signed by Wiehl the NYT conveniently omitted from its report, in which she declared “I would no longer make the allegations contained in the draft complaint” and that “she had no complaint about the emails” O’Reilly sent her. Today we have yet another wrinkle to a dispute nobody would have imagined a year ago.
Former Fox personalities Megyn Kelly and Gretchen Carlson (the former of which is notoriously struggling in her new gig at NBC) have both taken the opportunity to condemn O’Reilly … to which O’Reilly has responded by releasing three letters the two ladies had previously sent to him, in which they express very different sentiments about their former colleague.
The first two, from Kelly, thank O’Reilly for attending her baby shower and promoting her husband Doug’s book. In them, she calls Bill a “class act,” a “dear friend,” and a “mentor,” declaring “I am grateful to have you in my life” and “I appreciate how supportive you have been of me over the years here @ FNC.”
As for Carlson’s note:
Thank you for being the calm in the sea.
Thank you so much for supporting me.
Thank you for being my friend.
It means the world to me
Now, in fairness we have to point out that none of the notes are dated, and O’Reilly didn’t say when he received any of them. According to Heavy.com’s profile of Douglas Brunt, his and Kelly’s children were born between 2009 and 2014, and his two books were published in 2013 and 2015. So it’s not out of the question that Kelly and Carlson’s feelings about O’Reilly could have changed between writing the notes and today, though all the notes seem recent enough that O’Reilly suddenly becoming a completely different person to his female coworkers doesn’t seem particularly likely.
At Hot Air, Ed Morrissey makes another good point about Kelly’s comments being more than a little misleading:
O’Reilly’s statement [that he never received official complains while at Fox News] clearly referred to complaints about sexual harassment and abuse. “I know because I complained” about his “behavior” made it sound as though Kelly was about to unveil a new, sordid accusation about her former colleague. Instead, Kelly admits that O’Reilly may be factually correct in his statement about a lack of reports to Fox News, and that her complaint was about O’Reilly’s public campaign to attack and belittle his accusers.
So you can’t blame people for wondering if this is really what was going through Kelly’s mind:
Megyn Kelly figured out how she can get some positive PR again
— Scott Greer (@ScottMGreer) October 23, 2017
Earlier today, O’Reilly also appeared on Glenn Beck’s radio show to address all the latest developments. He reiterated that he can’t comment on specifics for legal reasons, beyond that “the first article in the New York Times quoted figures that were wildly wrong”; reiterated his main defense of agreeing to pay settlements, “In 20+ years at the Fox News Channel I resolved three things and I only did that to keep my children safe”; and addressed Kelly’s attacks:
“She didn’t file a complaint that I know of,” Bill said in response, “and she is not mentioning that there was an anonymous hotline at Fox News for years. Anyone could have called and said, ‘Someone is doing something to me and you’d better stop it.’ Also, I’d like everyone to read the personal notes Megyn Kelly wrote to me.”
What do you think of all this? Who’s telling the truth and who’s lying like crazy? Sound off below!