Juliet Huddy, a longtime host and correspondent for Fox News, has quietly reached a settlement for a sexual harassment claim she filed against top-rated host Bill O’Reilly and the co-president of the network, Jack Abernethy.
According to a report by Law Newz’s Rachel Stockman, Huddy notified Fox that she intended to sue for harassment after multiple alleged instances of inappropriate behavior from the two men. The claim was one of many from women who have worked at Fox News, including several who alleged harassment by the cable channel’s founder, Roger Ailes.
In the "intent to sue" letter, a copy of which Law Newz said it had obtained, Huddy said the harassment she experienced from O’Reilly began shortly after she was moved to work on his program after a long stint as host of the “Fox & Friends” weekend edition.
Huddy claimed that O’Reilly tried to kiss her at his Long Island home and made several sexually suggestive phone calls. Law Newz also mentioned “an incident” at an unnamed hotel, when Huddy attempted to return a room key to O’Reilly, but provided no further details.
According to the letter, after Huddy declined O’Reilly’s propositions, her regular segment on “The O’Reilly Factor” was abruptly canceled, although it had been one of the most popular segments on the show. Thereafter, she was reassigned to a Fox-owned broadcast station in New York and given an anchor position for a 4:30 a.m. morning show, a post that she deemed less prestigious. The change, she alleged, came “in retaliation for rebuffing Mr. O’Reilly’s advances.”
Huddy also claimed to have experienced harassment from Jack Abernethy, the man who oversaw Fox’s broadcast stations at the time and who now serves as co-president of Fox News Channel. The Law Newz report did not provide specifics about any alleged incidents beyond citing repeated phone calls asking Huddy to come to Abernethy's office.
More information about Huddy’s accusations is not likely to emerge since she has reached a settlement with Fox. It is in the high six figures, according to Stockman’s report
This is not the first time that O’Reilly has been accused of inappropriate sexual behavior toward female co-workers. In 2004 he was sued by Fox producer Andrea Mackris in a formal complaint that alleged he made many unsolicited sexual advances, including advising her to purchase a vibrator and his detailing lurid fantasies of a shared shower. (Those included an infamous taped conversation in which O'Reilly apparently described a loofah as a "falafel thing.")
O’Reilly’s alleged peccadilloes appeared in a lawsuit filed last year against Ailes by former Fox News contributor Andrea Tantaros. In that suit, the former co-host of “The Five” alleged that O’Reilly invited her to stay at his home and said he believed she had a “wild side.”
Several women have accused Ailes of sexual harassment as well, including recently departed Fox News star Megyn Kelly and a former booker for the network, who accused Ailes of essentially keeping her as a sex slave.