Bill O’Reilly, Fox News sued for defamation by two additional former employees
Two additional former Fox News employees are suing Bill O’Reilly and the cable news network for defamation, joining the legal battle that was brought earlier this month by former Fox News producer Rachel Witlieb Bernstein.
In a lawsuit filed Wednesday in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, Rebecca Gomez Diamond and Andrea Mackris allege that they were defamed by O’Reilly and Fox News in a New York Times article from April 2016 that brought to light settlements paid by the network to women who had accused O’Reilly of sexual harassment and other forms of misconduct.
All three plaintiffs were mentioned by name in the April 1 article that ultimately led to O’Reilly being ousted from the network after two decades as the host of its top-rated “The O’Reilly Factor.”
Bernstein filed her original suit Dec. 4 for defamation and breach of contract, alleging that O’Reilly and Fox News violated a settlement she reached with the host. Her financial settlement with the network required that both sides not disparage the other and only say the matter had been resolved.
The new suit filed Wednesday alleges that O’Reilly and Fox News disparaged and defamed Diamond and Mackris by saying that they didn’t complain to the company about O’Reilly’s alleged behavior.
“Of course they complained,” the suit argues. “Plaintiffs did complain internally to Fox News in a timely manner. They all settled their complaints.”
Fox News didn’t respond to a request for comment.
Diamond was a host on the Fox Business Network, and Mackris was a producer on “The O’Reilly Factor.” They reached settlements in 2011 and 2004, respectively, according to the New York Times report.
The new plaintiffs are arguing that O’Reilly violated his non-disparagement clauses with them when he told the New York Times in a statement that “I’m vulnerable to lawsuits from individuals who want me to pay them to avoid negative publicity.” He added that “the worst part of my job is being a target for those who would harm me and my employer, the Fox News Channel.”
The plaintiffs also claim that Fox News defamed them by reiterating O’Reilly’s defense of himself in comments the network sent to the New York Times through its parent company, 21st Century Fox.
The suit alleges that Rupert Murdoch, the executive chairman of 21st Century Fox, defamed the plaintiffs in recent comments to Sky News, in which the media baron seemed to downplay the sexual harassment accusations that have rocked the cable network. “It’s all nonsense,” he told the British news organization.
The three plaintiffs of the suit are all seeking unspecified damages, including punitive damages.
3:04 p.m.: This article was updated with additional details pertaining to settlements reached by Diamond and Mackris.
This article was originally published at 11:40 a.m
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