On NBC today, Bill O’Reilly seemed to forget – or he wanted us to forget – that he recently said about Gretchen Carlson’s sexual harassment lawsuit againt Roger Ailes, “I stand behind Roger 100 percent.”
O’Reilly made his “stand behind Roger” comment in July, shortly after Gretchen Carlson filed her bombshell lawsuit, but before a torrent of other accusations forced Ailes out. Since then, Fox’s Geraldo Rivera and former host Greta Van Susteren have recanted their support for Ailes.
On the Today show today, O'Reilly was asked by cohost Savannah Guthrie about his “stand behind Roger” comment and whether he had “learned anything in these last few months that makes you change your mind about that?”
O’Reilly tried to finesse by pretending he had never commented on the case. From Media Matters’ transcript (with my emphasis):
BILL O’REILLY: Well, first of all, my comments were made to Seth Meyers about what kind of a boss Roger Ailes was, not about the case. I don’t know anything about the case, OK? Nothing. So he was a good boss, best boss I’ve ever had, and that’s what I said to Seth Meyers. That’s all I’ve said. And I’m not going to say anything else because I work for this company and I don’t really have any insight into anything, so for once in my life I’m going to keep my big mouth shut.
Actually O’Reilly said quite a bit to suggest that Carlson was lying and that Ailes was the real victim of her lawsuit. Here’s what he told Meyers (also via Media Matters, with my emphases):
BILL O’REILLY: Well, I think it’s a very sad situation, number one. And I’m just going to say this about it. I’ve worked for Roger Ailes for 20 years, right. Best boss I’ve ever had. Straight shooter, always honest with me. And I believe that over the years, he’s been in the business for 50 years, 95 percent of the people who have worked for Roger Ailes would say exactly the same thing that I just told you. In this country, every famous, powerful, or wealthy person is a target. You’re a target, I’m a target. Anytime, somebody could come out and sue us, attack us, go to the press, or anything like that. Until Amer—and that’s a deplorable situation because I have to have bodyguards. I have to hire bodyguards, physical bodyguards, all right? Until the United States adopts the British system of civil law, whereby if you file a frivolous lawsuit and you lose, the judge has a right to make you pay all court costs. Until we adopt that very fair proposition, we’re going to have this out of control tabloid society that is tremendously destructive. I stand behind Roger 100 percent.
Since then, Fox settled Carlson's suit for $20 million and all but admitted guilt in an apology that went with the check: "We sincerely regret and apologize for the fact that Gretchen was not treated with the respect and dignity that she and all of our colleagues deserve."
One good reason O’Reilly might want to remain silent (now) about sexual harassment at Fox is because he has since been implicated in a current sexual harassment lawsuit by former Fox host Andrea Tantaros. Her complaint against Fox, which does not name him as a defendant, states:
Bill O’Reilly (“O’Reilly”), whom Tantaros had considered to be a good friend and a person from whom she sought career guidance, started sexually harassing her by, inter alia (a) asking her to come to stay with him on Long Island where it would be “very private,” and (b) telling her on more than one occasion that he could “see [her] as a wild girl,” and that he believed that she had a “wild side.”
Tantaros alleges that after she complained, she was prevented from appearing on his show. (Paragraph 54)
As most readers probably know, this is not O’Reilly’s first go-round with sexual harassment allegations. There’s the now-infamous “Falafel” suit brought against him by former Fox producer Andrea Mackris, which was quickly settled, in 2004.
Unfortunately, neither of the Today cohosts followed up with any of this relevant information. They merely asked whether O’Reilly has noticed a change at Fox since Ailes’ departure.
For the record, O’Reilly said he has not.
Watch O’Reilly contradict himself below:
With a loofah . . .
University Says No To Ailes
Trump just wont talk about Birtherism anymore.
Clinton should simply say that she’s not talking about Benghazi or emails anymore.