The sexual harassment claims against Bill O’Reilly are hardly surprising, given how misogyny has been baked into the culture that both produces and is propagated by Fox News. Similarly, it shouldn’t be surprising that there are reports O’Reilly’s severance pay could wind up amounting to nearly twice the amount that’s been recently reported as paid out to his alleged sexual harassment victims.
O’Reilly’s annual salary is $25 million and under his amended contract, it seems that he could be eligible to receive as much as one year’s salary in his severance for being terminated by the network, according to a report by a person with direct knowledge of the situation to CNBC.
By contrast, the settlements reached with the five women who accused O’Reilly of sexual harassment or other inappropriate behavior totaled roughly $13 million — only slightly more than half of what O’Reilly may receive when departing from the network.
Overall, Fox News has had to spend more than $85 million as the result of sexual harassment allegations against powerful men employed by the network, according to a report by The New York Times. Of that $85 million, as much as $65 million has been invested in the exit packages of the men themselves.
CNBC also reported that, in an internal memo circulated within Fox News on Wednesday following O’Reilly’s termination, Rupert Murdoch and his sons Lachlan and James wrote that “by ratings standards, Bill O’Reilly is one of the most accomplished TV personalities in the history of cable news. In fact, his success by any measure is indisputable.”
For his part, O’Reilly continues to insist that he is innocent and was merely targeted for his fame. In a statement released after he was fired, O’Reilly said, “it is tremendously disheartening that we part ways due to completely unfounded claims. But that is the unfortunate reality many of us in the public eye must live with today. I wish only the best for Fox News Channel.”