Bill O’Reilly has called the sexual harassment charges against him that led to his ousting at Fox News a “political and financial hit job.”
The former host of The O’Reilly Factor appeared on Today six months after parting ways with Fox News, where he denied ever having been accused of misconduct against women – until the claims that ended his career.
“Not in 42 years,” he said. “In 42 years, I’ve been in this business. I worked with 12 companies. Not one time did I have any interaction with HR, any complaints filed against me.”
In April, The New York Times reported that five women were paid a collective $13 million by Fox News for agreeing not to file lawsuits or speak publicly about allegations that he harassed them. The settlements — involving women who have either worked with O’Reilly or appeared on his show — took place sporadically between 2002 and 2016.
However, the former host claims to have no knowledge of the settlements.
“I don’t know because I’m not privy to what Fox News did,” he explained. “After [former Fox News Chairman] Roger Ailes went down, there was a flood of lawsuits — a flood — with dozens of people named. And the company did what the company did.”
O’Reilly continued, “Every company in this country — including this one, Comcast — has these lawsuits. Some of there are valid, some of them are not. They settle them for a number of reasons. As an employee, I don’t really have any say in that matter.”
When asked why he didn’t counter-sue his accusers if he’s innocent, O’Reilly replied that those type of lawsuits are impossible to win as a public figure.
“I could do that, but the collateral damage of these lawsuits, the press frenzy. Every allegation is a conviction,” he said. “Every allegation in this area is a conviction — they don’t look for the truth.”
O’Reilly said Fox News did not give a specific reason for his firing, chalking it up to a “business decision” by the network spurred by boycotts organized by left groups.
He said, “I can go to sleep at night very well knowing that I never mistreated anyone on my watch in 42 years.”