Arts&Culture

Bill O'Reilly sued by former Fox News producer for defamation

Bill O'Reilly sued by former Fox News producer for defamation

Former Fox News producer Rachel Witlieb Bernstein is suing Bill O'Reilly and Fox News for defamation and breach of contract, alleging they violated a settlement she reached with the fired cable anchor.

Her financial settlement with Fox News required both sides not to disparage the other and only say the matter had been resolved.

The lawsuit, filed in NY federal court, accuses O'Reilly and Fox News of defamation and breach of contract stemming from a 2002 settlement between them and former Fox News producer Rachel Witlieb Bernstein.

Bernstein's complaint also argues that O'Reilly, depicted himself as a victim, and "claimed that the complaints against him are extortionate".

O'Reilly and spokesman Mark Fabiani did not immediately respond to a Law&Crime request for comment. The lawsuit was filed Monday in federal court in Manhattan. She was forced out of her job at Fox News and paid a settlement because of his mistreatment.

She said Fox and O'Reilly misled the public by claiming that no one complained to a Fox hotline about his behavior.

The New York Times revealed in April that Bernstein left the system in the wake of documenting a protest about him "raging into the newsroom" and shouting at her.

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She went to HR and other organization administrators to gripe about him a few times.

"This cynical falsehood about a non-existent hot line was made to bolster O'Reilly's claim that the women who received settlements must have fabricated their claims or they would have complained", said Bernstein's attorney Nancy Erika Smith, whose Montclair, N.J., law firm Smith Mullin represented Gretchen Carlson in her suit against former Fox chief executive Roger Ailes.

A lawyer for Ms. Bernstein, Neil Mullin, asked that O'Reilly and Fox release all victims from their non-disclosure agreements in order to "let the truth out".

O'Reilly would make other comments including to The Hollywood Reporter, which is cited in today's lawsuit.

Bernstein's suit claims emotional distress as well as reputational and financial harm.

Subsequent statements by O'Reilly are alleged to have violated the nondisparagement clause, according to Bernstein.

"Defendants Fox and O'Reilly materially breached the Agreement by making statements other than the agreed-upon statement and by issuing false, disparaging and defamatory statements", the 14-page jury trial seeking four count complaint asserts.