A woman who settled sexual harassment claims against disgraced former Fox News host Bill O'Reilly has now sued both him and Fox for allegedly violating their settlement terms by publicly attacking her.
The lawsuit, which has been filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of NY, states, "Mr. O'Reilly is the liar".
Bernstein's attorneys say those statements, along with others from O'Reilly and Fox, violated the non-disparagement clause and represented defamation against their client by portraying her as a liar.
The Times reported in April that O'Reilly and Fox News paid out millions of dollars to five women to settle harassment claims. Bernstein alleges that Fox News, through its parent company, 21st Century Fox, falsely told The Times that it had received no complaints to an anonymous company hotline because, she contends, there wasn't a hotline while she was employed there in 2002. In a September interview with former Today host Matt Lauer, O'Reilly denied any wrongdoing, indicating that the six lawsuits were settled, at the high price of $45 million, to avoid a more expensive trial. She also says she made repeated complaints in person to the network's human resources department and to other senior Fox News executives. She was constrained out of her activity at Fox News and paid a settlement in light of his abuse.
The lawsuit, filed in NY federal court, accuses O'Reilly and Fox News of defamation and breach of contract stemming from a 2002 settlement between them and former Fox News producer Rachel Witlieb Bernstein. She said she talked repeatedly to bosses about O'Reilly's actions, but there was no hotline in place at the time of the incidents.
The complaint, filed in NY federal court, also addresses statements from Fox News this past April. Shortly thereafter, the woman, Rachel Witlieb Bernstein, left the network with a payout and bound by a confidentiality agreement, people familiar with the deal said. "Mr. O'Reilly is fully committed to supporting our efforts to improve the environment for all our employees at Fox News".
The plaintiff said she was not the source for the information printed in the Times story. The Times notes that Bernstein did not accuse O'Reilly of sexual harassment.
O'Reilly was constrained out of Fox News in April following a progression of disclosures about affirmed lewd behavior and manhandle.