Around the time Fox News was settling an explosive lawsuit with former host Gretchen Carlson accusing ex-CEO Roger Ailes of sexual harassment, the top-rated cable news network quietly settled with another former host who reportedly accused one of its biggest stars, Bill O’Reilly, of sexual harassment.
In a letter to Fox News’ owner 21st Century Fox first obtained by LawNewz.com and published Monday, Juliet Huddy, a former “Fox & Friends Weekend” host who used to appear regularly on “The O’Reilly Factor,” claimed she was removed from the primetime show “in retaliation for rebuffing Mr. O’Reilly’s advances.”
According to the website, the letter alleges that O’Reilly propositioned Huddy on numerous occasions, frequently made sexually charged comments to her and once tried to kiss her when she visited his Long Island home.
According to the New York Times, the letter “includes allegations that Mr. O’Reilly had called Ms. Huddy repeatedly and that it sometimes sounded like he was masturbating.”
Huddy also claims she faced workplace harassment from newly appointed Fox News co-president Jack Abernethy. Abernethy, then head of Fox Television Stations, would be “constantly calling her at the office and asking her to come by his office,” Huddy’s letter states.
In a statement to Yahoo News, a Fox spokesperson said Huddy’s “letter of intent to sue contained substantial falsehoods which both men vehemently denied.”
Huddy was subsequently transferred to Fox’s local New York City affiliate, where she was given a 4:30 a.m. anchoring spot on “Good Day New York” and effectively banished from the Rupert Murdoch-owned cable channel.
According to Lawnewz.com, the dispute was settled within days of the six-page letter being sent. According to the Times, Huddy received a sum in “the high six figure” range — which was paid by the network and not by O’Reilly or Abernathy.
Ailes was ousted from the network in July after more than 20 women came forward in the wake of Carlson’s allegations.
Huddy, whose father, John Huddy Sr., was a longtime consultant for Fox News under Ailes, tweeted support for her outgoing boss.
Thank you, Roger Ailes for being a wonderful boss and mentor. I will always appreciate what you've done for me. Again, THANK YOU.
— Juliet Huddy (@JulietHuddyTV) July 21, 2016
“Thank you, Roger Ailes for being a wonderful boss and mentor,” she wrote. “I will always appreciate what you’ve done for me. Again, THANK YOU.”
Huddy announced her departure from Fox 5 on Sept. 7, the day after Carlson’s reported $20 million settlement with Fox was revealed.
“Finally, after years of working in television, I understand what it feels like to be connected to a community,” Huddy wrote in a letter still pinned to the top of her Twitter page. “It is time for me now to move on.”
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