A woman who settled a harassment claim against Bill O'Reilly filed a lawsuit against the former Fox News host, claiming he violated their settlement by disparaging her in the press.
"Fox News has been aware of complaints about inappropriate behavior by Mr. O'Reilly since at least 2002, when Mr. O'Reilly stormed into the newsroom and screamed at a young producer, according to current and former employees, some of whom witnessed the incident".
O'Reilly was forced out of Fox News in April following a series of revelations about alleged sexual harassment and abuse.
"In fact, Mr. O'Reilly is the liar", states the lawsuit, which was filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of NY. Rachel Witlieb Bernstein says it was O'Reilly who didn't adhere to the terms of their July 2002 settlement.
O'Reilly and spokesman Mark Fabiani did not immediately respond to a Law&Crime request for comment.
The complaint, filed in NY federal court, also addresses statements from Fox News this past April. The exact amount she was paid is not known, but it was far less than the other settlements. Both O'Reilly and Fox said that a hotline was in place to anonymously report complaints and that no one had ever called it to complain about O'Reilly. She accused him of forcing her into a "nonconsensual relationship".More news: Senators urge FCC to delay net neutrality vote
O'Reilly would make other comments including to The Hollywood Reporter, which is cited in today's lawsuit. The statement by Fox News is deliberately misleading and in breach of Fox's agreement not to disparage Ms. Bernstein.
A lawyer for Ms. Bernstein, Neil Mullin, asked that O'Reilly and Fox release all victims from their non-disclosure agreements in order to "let the truth out".
The Times reported in April that O'Reilly and Fox News paid out millions of dollars to five women to settle harassment claims. "It is cowardly to publicly attack these women knowing they have been subjected to contractual provisions requiring absolute silence".
The defendants breached their agreement by making statements other than the agreed-upon statement that were false and defamatory, Bernstein alleges.
Bernstein argued that all this violates the non-disparagement and confidentiality clauses in her settlement.
Bernstein's suit claims emotional distress as well as reputational and financial harm.