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.
In the same April 1 story, O'Reilly was quoted as stating that he was "vulnerable to lawsuits from individuals who want me to pay them to avoid negative publicity", and that the "worst part of [his] job is being a target for those would harm me and my employer".
"O'Reilly portrayed Ms. Bernstein in a false light, defamed and disparaged her character, calling into question her motives for reporting O'Reilly's abuse to HR and ultimately being forced out at Fox News with a settlement agreement", she claims in her suit.
"O'Reilly has repeatedly said that the harassment allegations that led to his ouster from Fox News in April have no merit, that he never mistreated anyone and that he resolved the matters privately to protect his children".
Rachel Witlieb Bernstein's attorneys filed a lawsuit Monday in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of NY against O'Reilly and his former employer, Fox News, for breach of contract and defamation.
The New York Times first reported on Bernstein's settlement with O'Reilly earlier this year.
Fox News did not respond to a request for comment on the lawsuit. In Monday's complaint, Bernstein's lawyer's said she did not discuss her settlements with the Times. In my more than 20 years at Fox News Channel, no one has ever filed a complaint about me with the Human Resources Department, even on the anonymous hotline. She accused him of forcing her into a "nonconsensual relationship".
The amount of the payout was not disclosed, though the story notes that the network paid five women about $13 million to forego litigation over O'Reilly's behavior. The measure of cash she got subsequent to entering the settlement in July 2002 isn't known.
The defendants breached their agreement by making statements other than the agreed-upon statement that were false and defamatory, Bernstein alleges.
"He's gone far beyond that and painted our client in a awful light", lawyer Neil Mullin told WaPo, claiming that O'Reilly violated the 2002 settlement case by implying that Bernstein's claims were politically motivated, Variety reported. "The statement by Fox News also violated the Confidentiality Clause in the Agreement".
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