Andrea Mackris, the former O’Reilly Factor producer who sued him for sexual harassment, opened up to The Daily Beast with more details about Bill O’Reilly’s lewd predations and more.
Tired of remaining a professional pariah while Bill O’Reilly’s career chugs along with barely a hiccup, Mackris has ditched her non-disclosure agreement in order to speak out.
Mackris’ 2004 lawsuit (which occurred more than a decade before Gretchen Carlson’s 2016 suit) is the reason O’Reilly is forever linked with the words “falafel” and “loofah.” Mackris received a settlement of $9 million (three of which went to her lawyers) but it would be more than a decade later until O’Reilly’s behavior finally caught up with him - and that was only after a 2017 New York Times investigation revealed that four other women had received settlements, for a grand total of $13 million paid out over time. He was gone from Fox shortly thereafter.
But as noted in The Daily Beast's lengthy interview with Mackris, O’Reilly thrived in the interim years, with book deals and fat contracts, while Mackris became unemployable in her field. Despite his ouster from Fox, The Daily Beast notes, he has a WABC radio show; a subscription-supported streaming service; he continues to write books and he remains a right-wing celeb, if not a hero. He also plans to tour with Donald Trump.
Mackris shared what she called “the most chilling moment of all of Bill’s multiple counts of harassment” in the phone call that drove her to seek legal protection.
“He was describing what I could expect next. That once we were alone in his hotel room I would get naked and he would get naked. He said I would sit in a chair facing the edge of the bed. He said I would spread my right leg over the right arm of a chair and my left leg over the left arm of the chair. He said I would masturbate facing him as he sat on the edge of the bed, naked and masturbating
“He said that it wouldn’t be sex because we wouldn’t be touching. He said I needed to suspend the fact that he was my boss. He characterized this ‘little fantasy outlet’ as ‘healthy’ for me and simply ‘blowing off steam.’ He said it would keep me in traction for the next guy I dated. He made it sound as if he would be doing me a favor.
“He always wanted me to join him in masturbating on the phone. I never did. He mocked my lack of participation as ‘hibernation’ and ‘celibacy.’ Once again, like every other time, I asked him why he continued to do this when I only ever said ‘No’ and ‘Please stop’ and ‘You’re my boss.’ I was trying to snap him out of it, I was thinking that it would click for him one of these times how wrong this was. I wanted very badly for him to stop and I made that abundantly clear.
“Instead, he said, ‘I know, but I’m going to make you play.’ Here was my boss, a man who held my career and future in his hands, acknowledging that he knew I’d never consented but he didn’t care. And he said it with a low, dark growl, ‘I know, but I’m going to make you play,’ like a voice that comes from under the ground, a place that’s red hot and full of hurt. That’s what his words felt like as they landed in my body. The voice of the Devil, pacing and hungry for more of what is not his to take.
“I went to lawyers after that phone call. I stood up to Bill O’Reilly’s sexual abuse in the workplace alone. And for that I lost everything I ever was and ever hoped to be,” Mackris told The Daily Beast.
Whether Mackris will suffer repercussions from speaking out now remains to be seen. But she seems prepared to deal with the consequences: “Tell the truth. Walk free,” she said.
I recommend the entire article.
Below, you can watch O’Reilly get a warm welcome back to the Fox News airwaves, five months after he was pushed out, in a September 26, 2017 appearance on the Hannity show.
I agree 100%.
I hadn’t tracked O’Reilly’s 9pm slot on WABC. (They put him in safely after prime time in a low attention slot) I tried listening to the latest broadcast. It’s a 4-5 minute intro, and then it segues into the audio of his “No Spin News”. All of which being done from his home studio.
Mackris is correct to note that O’Reilly isn’t completely out of the media, like Bryan Singer or Harvey Weinstein. But he’s also not making much headway anymore, and he’ll never get that “elder statesman” title.
You’re correct to note that Mackris will never have a media position again. Just as Lis Wiehl is no longer involved in this stuff. And neither is Tamara Holder, who wound up out of her media position after confronting an abuser at Fox News over 4 years ago. (Holder continues to practice law and is more outspoken in defending victims of sexual harassment these days. She’s returned to Illinois to run her own private practice and will not likely return to television airwaves anytime soon.)
You’re also correct to note that O’Reilly continues to have the ability to get his face and voice out into the public sphere pretty much when he wants to, if he pushes hard enough. His frantic grandstanding with Trump is the latest example of his attempts to do so. I’m pretty skeptical about his book sales claims, given the propensity of angry Right Wing organizations to buy in bulk to game the “Best Seller List” numbers.
But I also believe that O’Reilly’s legacy will be summed up mostly by his “WE’LL DO IT LIVE!!!!” meltdown and by the vile things he said to Mackris. He’ll be known as a guy who wanted to soar a lot higher than he did, but was always limited by his bad temper and bad behavior. I believe Mackris will be remembered as one of the brave voices who stood up to a bully, and who was not recognized for her bravery in her own time.
I gave serious thought to Mackris’ claim that O’Reilly’s career is flourishing while hers is stagnant. Especially since she got $6 million (after the lawyers’ take) to tide her over.
But while it’s true he is much diminished, he still has some professional stature, including a one-hour show on WABC radio on weeknights, in addition to those news updates. She, on the other hand, will probably never work in the business again.
I’m sure he thinks he’s the big victim, though.
Bill O’Reilly’s horrible behavior didn’t just result in the $13 million in settlements for Mackris and the four other women cited above. It also resulted in a $32 million dollar settlement that O’Reilly personally paid out to Lis Wiehl, who had been a frequent legal analyst on the Factor between 2000 and 2016. Wiehl’s suit discussed a “nonconsensual sexual relationship”, but she agreed to destroy all the texts and other evidence of O’Reilly’s behavior toward her after he paid her the $32 million. This settlement appears to be the single largest one ever paid to a single victim in the history of this kind of litigation. (Other settlements have been in this neighborhood but involved literally hundreds of women.)
O’Reilly insisted that he paid the record sum because he was somehow concerned about his children being damaged by the lawsuit. (Or perhaps about the information about his behavior being given to them…) Of course, his children had previously witnessed O’Reilly attacking his then-wife Maureen McPhilmy by slamming her against a wall, choking her and dragging her down the stairs. (McPhilmy said in an affidavit that she had caught him in the middle of phone sex in a compromised state and he responded by flying into a rage and attacking her.)
It frankly sounds as if Mackris was successful in fending the worst of O’Reilly’s behaviors off, while Wiehl was unable to do so. Which is why O’Reilly was then compelled to pay that massive of a sum to destroy the evidence. O’Reilly’s anger issues (and clearly the other issues) have been well-known for decades.
We should note that O’Reilly’s career has not really been the same since his forced departure from Fox News. He does have his personal website, and his homemade five minute Morning Update that he posts to the site and to whatever radio stations are willing to take it. (More stations decided to take his Update a couple of years ago, apparently) He also has his “No Spin News” video, which appears to be made in a home video studio (the background is quite simple and whoever is doing his makeup is quite variable in their success in covering his liver spots.) This video is made available on the Right Wing streaming app “The First” along with rants from Dana Loesch, Buck Sexton and a few others. O’Reilly spends some time during each video plugging his website and books and begging viewers to pay for memberships. He also continues to have Martin Dugard writing more entries in the unfortunate “Killing” series of books, which are regularly bought in bulk by Right Wing organizations and his fans, thus planting them on “Best Seller” lists. I note that these books are derided by actual historians for their innumerable inaccuracies, misplaced assumptions, and false premises. His recent “Killing the Mob” book, for example, falsely stated that “The Mob” essentially owned Hollywood and the Hollywood unions throughout the Golden Age of Cinema – which would be news to people who actually worked in Hollywood.
O’Reilly isn’t exactly destitute, but he’s a far distance from when his rants were featured on Fox News every night in prime time. And he’s never going to enjoy the status of “elder statesman” he so desperately craved after watching Brit Hume pretend to have it. These days, O’Reilly has found himself begging for attention from Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity, along with a few other AM radio hosts, something he would never have deigned to consider just 4 1/2 years ago.
I’ll also note that the bizarre Trump Tour for the end of the year appears to be more of an opportunity for Trump to be interviewed by a friendly and sycophantic face before doing his usual Rally antics on several evenings. O’Reilly’s recent cupcake interview with Trump indicates that he will ask no serious questions. If anything, O’Reilly’s most earnest exchanges with Trump were about O’Reilly, and his need for Trump to validate him.