Bill O'Reilly, Fox News Sued for Defamation by Female Accuser

Rachel Witlieb Bernstein claims in her U.S. District Court for the Southern District of NY suit Bernstein v. O'Reilly, 17-cv-09483, that she was not the source of information for the April 1 story that appeared in the Times.

O'Reilly has paid out more than $45 million to settle claims against him, according to The Times.

Bernstein's complaint also argues that O'Reilly, depicted himself as a victim, and "claimed that the complaints against him are extortionate".

Ms. Bernstein claims that statements made by Mr. O'Reilly and Fox News in response to the article disparaged and defamed her and violated the confidentiality clause of the settlement, which required that if asked about the dispute, the parties could respond by stating, "The matter has been resolved (or settled)". In Monday's complaint, Bernstein's lawyer's said she did not discuss her settlements with the Times.

Bernstein did not allege she was a victim of sexual harassment in the lawsuit. "She was forced out of her job at Fox News and paid a settlement because of the mistreatment".

"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".

Reps for Fox News and Bill O'Reilly were not immediately available for comment.

Bernstein is one of six known to have reached settlements after making sexual harassment accusations against Mr. O'Reilly, which ultimately led to O'Reilly's firing from Fox News, reports the New York Times.

Mullin said O'Reilly's comments violated the 2002 agreement and illustrate a broader issue, in which powerful men who are exposed as harassers attempt to discredit their victims. "This is false. In fact, he is a serial abuser and Ms. Bernstein's complaints about him were far from extortionate".

Citing harm to Bernstein's reputation, "severe emotional distress, physical sickness, and loss of income", the complaint drills into the specific violations that it alleges both O'Reilly and FNC committed. "Defendants knew that plaintiff was forced by defendants to sign the non- disparagement and confidentiality clauses and would be able to answer defendants' false, disparaging and defamatory statements", it says.

  • Kyle Peterson