Rachel Witlieb Bernstein, one of the women with whom Bill O’Reilly settled sexual harassment claims, served the disgraced former anchor with a lawsuit accusing him of defamation and breach of contract, The New York Times reported on Monday.
Bernstein is one of at least six women who are known to have reached settlements with Fox News and O’Reilly over alleged sexual misconduct in the workplace. The New York Times has reported that the network has spent $45 million to keep those cases out of court, with a settlement of $32 million going to one woman.
O’Reilly has always maintained his innocence, saying he agreed to settle the cases to spare his children the embarrassment of public court proceedings. But in doing so, O’Reilly has often declared that he’s been the target of a political agenda to bring him down and has dismissed his accusers as liars, which is where Bernstein’s lawyers say he ran afoul of the settlement, particularly the non-disclosure agreement portion of it, to which he agreed.
“In fact, Mr. O’Reilly is the liar,” the lawsuit alleges. “He mistreated Ms. Bernstein. She was forced out of her job at Fox News and paid a settlement because of his mistreatment. O’Reilly portrayed himself as a ‘target’ and claimed that complaints against him are extortionate,” the lawsuit continued. “This is false. In fact, he is a serial abuser and Ms. Bernstein’s complaints about him were far from extortionate.”
O’Reilly recently appeared on the Today show, where he was interviewed — in what has turned out to be a stunning twist — by Matt Lauer on the allegations that led to his dismissal by Fox News. O’Reilly hit on some of those themes in the interview with Lauer, though he did so using more reserved terms than he has in the past. Watch the interview below. Still, as the lawsuit reportedly made clear, any of the parties that were asked about the settlement were supposed to respond by simply saying, “The matter has been resolved (or settled).”
Read the full story at The New York Times.