- Rachel Witlieb Bernstein sued Bill O’Reilly for defamation and breach of contract.
- She argued that O’Reilly publicly disparaged her after she settled a harassment lawsuit with him in 2002.
A former Fox News employee who reached a settlement with Bill O’Reilly in 2002 sued the former Fox News host and the network on Monday for breach of contract and defamation.
In a statement, Rachel Witlieb Bernstein’s lawyer said since O’Reilly’s history of alleged sexual harassment has become public, Bernstein has experienced “widespread distribution of disparaging, defamatory, and false claims against her.”
Bernstein’s lawyer said Fox News falsely claimed that no one had complained to the company’s harassment hotline, while Berstein claimed she repeatedly complained to HR and Fox News executives about O’Reilly’s behavior.
“Knowing Ms. Bernstein and O’Reilly’s other victims are afraid to speak out because he and Fox forced them to sign non-disclosure agreements, O’Reilly and Fox have made false and disparaging claims,” the statement said. “They should release all victims from their NDS and let the truth out.”
— Paul Farhi (@farhip) December 4, 2017
The New York Times first reported on Bernstein’s settlement with O’Reilly earlier this year. In Monday’s complaint, Bernstein’s lawyer’s said she did not discuss her settlements with the Times. The paper did not disclose the details of her settlement with O’Reilly.
In a statement on Monday afternoon, O’Reilly’s attorney Fredric Newman disputed the lawsuit’s credibility.
“Bill O’Reilly has never mentioned the plaintiff’s name publicly in any context,” the statement said. “And as the original New York Times story makes clear, this was absolutely not a case of sexual harassment. So today’s lawsuit has absolutely no merit, and Mr. O’Reilly will respond aggressively in court.”
Since his ouster from Fox News earlier this year, O’Reilly has cast himself as the “victim” of person attacks and attempted to dispute the credibility of several women who accused him of harassment. O’Reilly’s advisers dug up a police report and previous statements that reflected negatively on Perquita Burgess, who accused O’Reilly of harassment.
“What we’re going to uncover is shocking,” O’Reilly told Fox News host Sean Hannity in September, though he did not offer specifics.
Fox News did not respond to a request for comment.