A sexual harassment scandal is rocking Fox News yet again. The network has settled with former anchor Juliet Huddy over alleged sexual harassment claims against the network's star Bill O'Reilly and newly appointed network co-president Jack Abernethy.
“There is absolutely no basis for any claim of sexual harassment against Bill O’Reilly by Juliet Huddy,” Fredric S. Newman, a lawyer for O'Reilly said, reports the New York Times.
O'Reilly's show "The O'Reilly Factor" has long been a tent-pole for the network. In 2015, the show generated $180 million in advertising sales for the network. Furthermore, O'Reilly is a close friend of Roger Ailes, the founder of Fox News, who ran the network until July 2016, when he resigned amid mount allegations of sexually harassing female employees.
According to Law Newz, Huddy's lawyers sent Fox News a letter a few weeks after Ailes resigned from his position.
Huddy hosted a regular segment on "The O'Reilly Factor," notes the New York Times. In a January 2011 incident, Huddy claims that O'Reilly invited Huddy to his Long Island home. “To shock and disgust, as Ms. Huddy was saying goodbye to Mr. O’Reilly, he quickly moved in and kissed her on the lips,” the letter said. “Ms. Huddy was so taken aback and repulsed that she instinctively recoiled and actually fell to the ground. Mr. O’Reilly, looking amused, did not even help Ms. Huddy up. ...Ms. Huddy’s rejection of Mr. O’Reilly apparently did not sit well with him, as he began to retaliate against her both on and off air.”
“The letter (from Huddy) contains substantial falsehoods and we won’t otherwise comment on this matter,” a spokesman for the network wrote in a statement on the matter.
Huddy also claimed that Ailes' replacement, Jack Abernethy, also sexually harassed her. Huddy claimed that the network co-president “constantly called her at the office and [asked] her to come by his office.”
"There was no sexual harassment," a source familiar with the case said. "Any purported claim made by Ms. Huddy would be nothing more than opportunistic fabrication concocted to cash in on the legal settlement from Fox News.”
In September, Huddy resigned from an anchor position at a local Fox station, WNYW.
“Thank you to everyone who has made the last 20 years the most challenging but best of my life,” she said on her last broadcast, notes the New York Times. “Perhaps someday, even someday soon, you’ll see me on television again.”