In an attempt to defend himself after numerous women accused him of sexual misconduct, Bill O’Reilly tried to paint the women as liars out for fat settlement checks. It’s an argument also employed by President Donald Trump and countless other men accused of misconduct over the years.
But the former Fox News host is the one doing the lying, according to Rachel Witlieb Bernstein, a former Fox producer who filed suit against O’Reilly Monday in the Southern District of New York.
Bernstein settled her original case against O’Reilly back in 2002. The terms of the settlement prohibited either side from talking about the case. But Bernstein says O’Reilly violated those terms in April and throughout the rest of the year, in talking to The New York Times and other outlets about the millions of dollars in settlement payouts he and Fox made to several women over harassment claims.
Not only should O’Reilly have kept his mouth shut, Bernstein says in the lawsuit, the things he said about these women were also lies.
We want an apology and an acknowledgement that what he said was false. Rachel Witlieb Bernstein’s lawyer on what her client wants from the lawsuit against Bill O’Reilly
“We want an apology and an acknowledgement that what he said was false,” Bernstein’s lawyer, Nancy Erika Smith, told HuffPost. “What he said about her wasn’t true.”
Smith also represented former Fox host Gretchen Carlson in her groundbreaking 2016 sexual harassment lawsuit against the company’s former chairman, Roger Ailes.
Bernstein is suing O’Reilly and Fox News for breach of contract and defamation.
In her lawsuit, Bernstein says O’Reilly did not sexually harass her, though several other women have made that claim about him. According to Bernstein, O’Reilly mistreated her “frequently and in front of numerous witnesses.” She left the company “because of severe mistreatment and abuse by Mr. O’Reilly, as he knows,” the suit says. The New York Times reported in April that O’Reilly screamed at Bernstein in front of witnesses.
“Bill O’Reilly has never mentioned the plaintiff’s name publicly in any context,” Fredric S. Newman, O’Reilly’s attorney, responded in a statement to HuffPost, adding that “this was absolutely not a case of sexual harassment.” Newman said the lawsuit had “no merit” and his client “will respond aggressively in court.”
Bernstein’s lawsuit comes at a moment of reckoning, as more brave women have come…