Every which way but loofah

Inside the Bill O'Reilly sexual harassment lawsuit.

Topics: Bill O'Reilly,

Popular right-wing talk show host Bill O’Reilly, star of “The O’Reilly Factor,” and the company he works for, Fox News, were slapped with a sexual harassment lawsuit today by Andrea Mackris, an associate producer on his show. (The lawsuit is posted in its entirety on The Smoking Gun website.) Mackris, who worked for Fox News for more than four years, alleged that O’Reilly repeatedly harassed her verbally, repeatedly making lewd suggestions to her in person and over the telephone while masturbating with a vibrator.

Just before Mackris filed her civil complaint, O’Reilly and Fox’s lawyers filed a counter lawsuit (also posted on The Smoking Gun Web site) charging that Mackris and her lawyers were attempting to extort $60 million in “hush money.” Although the complaint did not directly deny that O’Reilly had engaged in the conduct Mackris alleged, it called the allegations “baseless, scandalous and scurrilous.” O’Reilly’s attorneys alleged that the lawsuit was motivated not only by greed but politics, alleging that Mackris’ lawyer, Benedict Morelli, his firm and his wife are “known supporters of and contributors to the Democratic Party” who wanted to “embarrass and tarnish the reputations of Fox and O’Reilly” during the election season.

O’Reilly and Fox’s complaint states that Mackris never complained to anyone about O’Reilly’s alleged harassment, that she left Fox for CNN not because of the harassment but for a higher salary and that she in fact returned to work for O’Reilly, and had dinner and cocktails with him, after some of the alleged harassment had occurred. It also claims that Mackris and her lawyers, after claiming that their damages amounted to $600 million, demanded $60 million in “blood money” and “never once lowered this outrageous, extortionate demand.” The complaint asks for unspecified damages.

Newsday quoted Morelli as saying Fox’s retaliatory lawsuit was without merit. “The type of negotiations that occurred between us and the attorneys for Fox and Bill O’Reilly happen every day in civil lawsuits,” the paper quoted Morelli.

Mackris’ lawsuit gives a lurid account of O’Reilly’s alleged verbal harassment. The statements she claims he made are quoted at great length and apparently verbatim, making it appear that she repeatedly taped O’Reilly, although at least one apparent O’Reilly quote is prefaced with the characterization “words to the effect.”

In the lawsuit, Mackris claims that throughout her employment at Fox News, she was “subjected to the mercurial and unpredictable mood swings of her boss…a personality who can be paternal and engaging at one moment, tyrannical and menacing the next.” Her account begins with a dinner to which O’Reilly asked her out, “purportedly to discuss her future at Fox.” After some innocuous conversation, according to the complaint, O’Reilly’s “demeanor abruptly changed. O’Reilly’s eyes became glazed and bizarrely strayed in opposite directions. Suddenly, without provocation or warning, Defendant Bill O’Reilly said to Plaintiff Andrew Mackris, ‘And just use your vibrator to blow off steam.’”

The complaint then alleges that O’Reilly told Mackris that he had advised another woman to buy a vibrator and had taught that woman how to masturbate while telling her sexual stories over the phone. O’Reilly boasted that the woman had had her first orgasm in this fashion. He said all of his sexual stories were based on his own experiences, “such as when he received a massage in a cabana in Bali and the ‘little short brown woman’ asked to see his penis and was ‘amazed.’” O’Reilly then allegedly offered to tell Mackris the same stories, which he knew she would “just love.”

The complaint then alleges that a year later, in May 2003, O’Reilly took Mackris and a friend to dinner, where he repeatedly propositioned them both, again “singing the praises of telephone sex.” He told them that he “was going to Italy to meet the Pope, that his pregnant wife was staying home with his daughter, and implied he was looking forward to some extra-marital dalliances with the ‘hot’ Italian women.”

Mackris left Fox for CNN, but in April 2004 her boss was fired for sexual harassment — whereupon, according to the complaint, she received a phone call from O’Reilly, who suggested they have dinner to discuss her professional future. Mackris agreed, but on condition that the talk be strictly professional. When Mackris, over dinner, reminded O’Reilly that he had engaged in inappropriate conduct with other women who worked on his show and said he should be careful or they might tell someone, O’Reilly “vehemently threatened with words to the effect”: “If any woman ever breathed a word I’d make her pay so dearly she’d wish she’s never been born. I’ll rake her through the mud, bring up things in her life and make her so miserable that she’ll be destroyed.”

O’Reilly allegedly went on to say that anyone who crossed Fox News would have other enemies, and made ominous predictions about a dire fate awaiting political satirist Al Franken, who had tangled with O’Reilly and Fox. “If you cross Fox News Channel, it’s not just me, it’s Roger Ailes who will go after you…The person gets what’s coming to them but never sees it coming. Look at Al Franken, one day he’s going to get a knock on his door and life as he’s known it will change forever. That day will happen, trust me.”

The complaint then alleges that on August 2, 2004, “after interviewing two porn stars on ‘The O’Reilly Factor,’” O’Reilly telephoned Mackris at her home. Apparently “excited,” O’Reilly allegedly “launched into a vile and degrading monologue about sex.” He told Mackris to buy a vibrator and name it, saying he “‘had one shaped like a little cock with a battery in it’ that a woman had given him. It became apparent that Defendant was masturbating as he spoke. After he climaxed, Defendant O’Reilly said to Plaintiff, ‘I appreciate the fun phone call.’”

A month later, O’Reilly allegedly called again. “Defendant O’Reilly [said] he was watching a porn movie and babbled perversely regarding his fantasies regarding Caribbean vacations because, purportedly, ‘Once people get into that hot water they shed their inhibitions, you know they drink during the day, they lay there and lazy, they have dinner and then they come back and fool around…that’s basically the modus operandi.”

O’Reilly then allegedly launched into a lengthy fantasy featuring a loofah mitt.

“…you’d definitely get two wines in you, as quickly as I could get into you I would get ‘em into you, maybe intravenously, get those glasses of wine into you,” the complaint quotes O’Reilly as saying to Mackris. “You would basically be in the shower and then I would come in and you would have your back to me and I would take that loofah thing and kinda’ soap up your back…rub it all over you, get you to relax, hot water…and um, you know, you’d feel the tension drain out of you and uh you would still be with your back to me then I would kinda’ put my arm — it’s one of those mitts, those loofah mitts you know, so I got my hands in it…and I would put it around front, kinda’ rub your tummy a little bit with it, and then with my other hand I would start to massage your boobs, get your nipples really hard…’cuz I like that and you have really spectacular boobs…

“So anyway I’d be rubbing your big boobs and getting your nipples really hard, kinda’ kissing your neck from behind…and then I would take the other hand with the falafel (sic) thing and I’d just put it on your pussy but you’d have to do it really light, just kind of a tease business…”

“During the course of Defendant Bill O’Reilly’s sexual rant, it became clear that he was using a vibrator upon himself, and that he ejaculated. Plaintiff was repulsed.”

The complaint then asserts that “immediately after climaxing,” O’Reilly began boasting about how good he was during a recent appearance on “The Tonight Show.” He allegedly concluded the phone call by saying, “You know Mackris, in these days of your celibacy and your hibernation this is good for you to have a little fantasy outlet…I’m trying to tell you, this is good for your mental health.”

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 11
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    Beautiful Darkness by Fabien Vehlmann & Kerascoët
    Kerascoët's lovely, delicate pen-and-watercolor art -- all intricate botanicals, big eyes and flowing hair -- gives this fairy story a deceptively pretty finish. You find out quickly, however, that these are the heartless and heedless fairies of folk legend, not the sentimental sprites beloved by the Victorians and Disney fans. A host of tiny hominid creatures must learn to survive in the forest after fleeing their former home -- a little girl who lies dead in the woods. The main character, Aurora, tries to organize the group into a community, but most of her cohort is too capricious, lazy and selfish to participate for long. There's no real moral to this story, which is refreshing in itself, beyond the perpetual lessons that life is hard and you have to be careful whom you trust. Never has ugly truth been given a prettier face.

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    Climate Changed: A Personal Journey Through the Science by Philippe Squarzoni
    Squarzoni is a French cartoonist who makes nonfiction graphic novels about contemporary issues and politics. While finishing up a book about France under Jacques Chirac, he realized that when it came to environmental policy, he didn't know what he was talking about. "Climate Changed" is the result of his efforts to understand what has been happening to the planet, a striking combination of memoir and data that ruminates on a notoriously elusive, difficult and even imponderable subject. Panels of talking heads dispensing information (or Squarzoni discussing the issues with his partner) are juxtaposed with detailed and meticulous yet lyrical scenes from the author's childhood, the countryside where he takes a holiday and a visit to New York. He uses his own unreachable past as a way to grasp the imminent transformation of the Earth. The result is both enlightening and unexpectedly moving.

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    Here by Richard McGuire
    A six-page version of this innovative work by a regular contributor to the New Yorker first appeared in RAW magazine 25 years ago. Each two-page spread depicts a single place, sometimes occupied by a corner of a room, over the course of 4 billion years. The oldest image is a blur of pink and purple gases; others depict hazmat-suited explorers from 300 years in the future. Inset images show the changing decor and inhabitants of the house throughout its existence: family photos, quarrels, kids in Halloween costumes, a woman reading a book, a cat walking across the floor. The cumulative effect is serene and ravishing, an intimation of the immensity of time and the wonder embodied in the humblest things.

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    Kill My Mother by Jules Feiffer
    The legendary Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist delivers his debut graphic novel at 85, a deliriously over-the-top blend of classic movie noir and melodrama that roams from chiaroscuro Bay City to Hollywood to a USO gig in the Pacific theater of World War II. There's a burnt-out drunk of a private eye, but the story is soon commandeered by a multigenerational collection of ferocious women, including a mysterious chanteuse who never speaks, a radio comedy writer who makes a childhood friend the butt of a hit series and a ruthless dame intent on making her whiny coward of a husband into a star. There are disguises, musical numbers and plenty of gunfights, but the drawing is the main attraction. Nobody convey's bodies in motion more thrillingly than Feiffer, whether they're dancing, running or duking it out. The kid has promise.

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    The Motherless Oven by Rob Davis
    This is a weird one, but in the nervy surreal way that word-playful novels like "A Clockwork Orange" or "Ulysses" are weird. The main character, a teenage schoolboy named Scarper Lee, lives in a world where it rains knives and people make their own parents, contraptions that can be anything from a tiny figurine stashable in a pocket to biomorphic boiler-like entities that seem to have escaped from Dr. Seuss' nightmares. Their homes are crammed with gadgets they call gods and instead of TV they watch a hulu-hoop-size wheel of repeating images that changes with the day of the week. They also know their own "death day," and Scarper's is coming up fast. Maybe that's why he runs off with the new girl at school, a real troublemaker, and the obscurely dysfunctional Castro, whose mother is a cageful of talking parakeets. A solid towline of teenage angst holds this manically inventive vision together, and proves that some graphic novels can rival the text-only kind at their own game.

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    NOBROW 9: It's Oh So Quiet
    For each issue, the anthology magazine put out by this adventurous U.K.-based publisher of independent graphic design, illustration and comics gives 45 artists a four-color palette and a theme. In the ninth issue, the theme is silence, and the results are magnificent and full of surprises. The comics, each told in images only, range from atmospheric to trippy to jokey to melancholy to epic to creepy. But the two-page illustrations are even more powerful, even if it's not always easy to see how they pertain to the overall concept of silence. Well, except perhaps for the fact that so many of them left me utterly dumbstruck with visual delight.

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    Over Easy by Mimi Pond
    When Pond was a broke art student in the 1970s, she took a job at a neighborhood breakfast spot in Oakland, a place with good food, splendid coffee and an endlessly entertaining crew of short-order cooks, waitresses, dishwashers and regular customers. This graphic memoir, influenced by the work of Pond's friend, Alison Bechdel, captures the funky ethos of the time, when hippies, punks and disco aficionados mingled in a Bay Area at the height of its eccentricity. The staff of the Imperial Cafe were forever swapping wisecracks and hopping in and out of each other's beds, which makes them more or less like every restaurant team in history. There's an intoxicating esprit de corps to a well-run everyday joint like the Imperial Cafe, and never has the delight in being part of it been more winningly portrayed.

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    The Shadow Hero by Gene Luen Yang and Sonny Liew
    You don't have to be a superhero fan to be utterly charmed by Yang and Liew's revival of a little-known character created in the 1940s by the cartoonist Chu Hing. This version of the Green Turtle, however, is rich in characterization, comedy and luscious period detail from the Chinatown of "San Incendio" (a ringer for San Francisco). Hank, son of a mild-mannered grocer, would like to follow in his father's footsteps, but his restless mother (the book's best character and drawn with masterful nuance by Liew) has other ideas after her thrilling encounter with a superhero. Yang's story effortlessly folds pathos into humor without stooping to either slapstick or cheap "darkness." This is that rare tribute that far surpasses the thing it celebrates.

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    Shoplifter by Michael Cho
    Corinna Park, former English major, works, unhappily, in a Toronto advertising agency. When the dissatisfaction of the past five years begins to oppress her, she lets off steam by pilfering magazines from a local convenience store. Cho's moody character study is as much about city life as it is about Corinna. He depicts her falling asleep in front of the TV in her condo, brooding on the subway, roaming the crowded streets after a budding romance goes awry. Like a great short story, this is a simple tale of a young woman figuring out how to get her life back, but if feels as if it contains so much of contemporary existence -- its comforts, its loneliness, its self-deceptions -- suspended in wintery amber.

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    Through the Woods by Emily Carroll
    This collection of archetypal horror, fairy and ghost stories, all about young girls, comes lushly decked in Carroll's inky black, snowy white and blood-scarlet art. A young bride hears her predecessor's bones singing from under the floorboards, two friends make the mistake of pretending to summon the spirits of the dead, a family of orphaned siblings disappears one by one into the winter nights. Carroll's color-saturated images can be jagged, ornate and gruesome, but she also knows how to chill with absence, shadows and a single staring eye. Literary readers who cherish the work of Kelly Link or the late Angela Carter's collection, "The Bloody Chamber," will adore the violent beauty on these pages.

  • Recent Slide Shows



Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>