Bill O'Reilly Settled With Her. Now She's Suing

Rachel Witlieb Bernstein claims he, Fox News didn't stick to terms of settlement
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 4, 2017 2:44 PM CST
Bill O'Reilly Settled With Her. Now She's Suing
This Oct. 1, 2015 file photo shows Bill O'Reilly of the Fox News Channel program "The O'Reilly Factor" in New York.   (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

Bill O'Reilly settled with six women over harassment allegations, and one of them says she hasn't said a word—until now. As the New York Times explains, these types of settlements typically include iron-clad confidentiality and nondisparagement clauses. Rachel Witlieb Bernstein says it was O'Reilly who didn't adhere to the terms of their July 2002 settlement. In a suit filed Monday, she accused him of defamation and breach of contract over comments he has publicly made about the allegations. The Times says one of its own articles plays a role in the suit: In an April story on the allegations, it noted the network knew of allegations since 2002 and recounted an incident in which he publicly screamed at Bernstein, then a "young producer," in the newsroom (she says she was not a source for the article).

Fox News and O'Reilly responded to the article. Per the suit, the settlement restricted them to saying only "The matter has been resolved (or settled)." Instead, she claims they not only violated that but defamed her, with Fox News saying no reports about O'Reilly were made to a hotline; she notes such a hotline didn't exist during her tenure, and that she went to HR many times. As for O'Reilly, the suit says he "portrayed himself as a 'target'" and the women as "extortionate." Says lawyer Nancy Erika Smith, "This cynical falsehood about a nonexistent hotline was made to bolster O'Reilly's claim that the women who received settlements must have fabricated their claims or they would have complained." Bernstein claims the comments led to distress, lost income, and sickness, among other things. (More Bill O'Reilly stories.)

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