Bill O’Reilly most likely can afford to retire and he probably should be thinking about it before he spends all of his life savings on settling sexual harassment lawsuits. At least $13 million have been paid so far that we know about.
O’Reilly has a deep financial well making close to $20 million a year from hosting his number one rated nightly show plus about $30 a million a year in book sales, making him the number one nonfiction author on the planet. Such a deep well makes him a very attractive target to those who have a barb against him.
You most likely have heard the gory details from all the other television news channels. You have heard about the alleged escapades of O’Reilly’s sexual advances toward women at the Fox network whose careers he might encourage or advance if they had sex with him. Of course, you haven’t heard much about it on Fox. They don’t have to talk much about it yet because all the other networks are covering the story intensely. So far Fox News has stood with him and has paid three of the settlements of the five women. O’Reilly has paid two settlements. One involved $9 million paid in 2004 to a producer, and the other was agreed on last year with a former on-air personality.
All of this comes after the Roger Ailes Fiasco, which led to his departure from Fox News and a $40 million departure package last year. Disturbing allegations were made by women personalities against Ailes that resulted in multi-million dollar settlements and Ailes’ demise.
O’Reilly’s show for the last 20 years has been a lucrative cash cow for Fox earning the network hundreds of millions of dollars. Sponsors such as Mercedes Benz, BMW and dozens of others have filled the pockets of the network. However, by the last count, 21 of the sponsors have withdrawn from advertising on The O’Reilly Factor. “The allegations are disturbing and, given the importance of women in every aspect of our business, we don’t feel this is a good environment in which to advertise our products right now,” reported a representative of Mercedes-Benz.
It’s always hard to know exactly for sure what he said and she said and what he did and how she responded or vice versa. Even with audio recordings and videos there is a lot of room for tampering. A picture may tell a story but it doesn’t always tell the whole story. I haven’t heard of any pictures or videos that incriminate O’Reilly but there is always the possibility of something surfacing.
The fact that O’Reilly and Fox have already settled for so much money with at least five different women in order to try to spare O’Reilly’s children and others from embarrassment and other suffering lends strong support there is a lot of fire behind all of this smoke. Also, the $13 million paid out isn’t saving anybody too much embarrassment it would seem to me.
The big question that someone else will have to uncover the answer to, is how many unreported affairs and sexual escapades has Bill O’Reilly managed to have over the years? I’m not saying that he has. I’m saying if there is truth to the alleged harassment then there is always a chance there are women who will never talk because they don’t want to embarrass their families or because they actually were enriched or promoted in their careers by having sex with O’Reilly or Ailes. This would be extremely embarrassing that their careers were actually advanced by their willingness to do anything – anything.
Are there women with jobs at Fox who had sex with O’Reilly in order to advance at the network? Did they have sex with Roger Ailes? Did they have sex with Ailes and O’Reilly? Who would dare to think we are only hearing from the alleged harassed people? There is always the possibility that O’Reilly and Ailes had numbers of successful trysts before and after and all around the other women who claimed foul. How many women have been on O’Reilly’s show or worked with him because they were willing to have sex with him in order to be there? There is also the possibility that all of the accusations have been made up for financial gain. Will anybody really know for sure?
This is all conjecture and stuff that makes people go “hmmm.” There will be much more said about all of this in the weeks ahead. The media will not let this one rest.
Glenn Mollette is a syndicated columnist and author of 11 books. He is read in all 50 states. Visit www.glennmollette.com.