Wednesday, April 5, 2017

President Trump Defends Fox's Bill O'Reilly: "I Don't Think Bill Did Anything Wrong"

A few days ago, the New York Times broke news about  sexual harassment lawsuit settlements involving Fox "The Factor" host Bill O'Reilly:

For nearly two decades, Bill O’Reilly has been Fox News’s top asset, building the No. 1 program in cable news for a network that has pulled in billions of dollars in revenues for its parent company, 21st Century Fox.
Behind the scenes, the company has repeatedly stood by Mr. O’Reilly as he faced a
Bill O'Reilly
series of allegations of sexual harassment or other inappropriate behavior.
An investigation by The New York Times has found a total of five women who have received payouts from either Mr. O’Reilly or the company in exchange for agreeing to not pursue litigation or speak about their accusations against him. The agreements totaled about $13 million.
Two settlements came after the network’s former chairman, Roger Ailes, was dismissed last summer in the wake of a sexual harassment scandal, when the company said it did not tolerate behavior that “disrespects women or contributes to an uncomfortable work environment.”
The women who made allegations against Mr. O’Reilly either worked for him or appeared on his show. They have complained about a wide range of behavior, including verbal abuse, lewd comments, unwanted advances and phone calls in which it sounded as if Mr. O’Reilly was masturbating, according to documents and interviews.
The reporting suggests a pattern: As an influential figure in the newsroom, Mr. O’Reilly would create a bond with some women by offering advice and promising to help them professionally. He then would pursue sexual relationships with them, causing some to fear that if they rebuffed him, their careers would stall.
O'Reilly has tried to dismiss the settlements as merely payoffs for nuisance suits. As an attorney, I've seen many nuisance suits.  Settlements for nuisance suits are generally a few thousands of dollars, certainly never millions.  These suits would not have been settled for such sums if there wasn't serious wrongdoing involved.

President Trump, however, disagrees.  In an interview with the New York Times, Trump stated:

“Personally, I think he shouldn’t have settled,” Mr. Trump said in an interview in the Oval Office with Times reporters. “Because you should have taken it all the way; I don’t think Bill did anything wrong.”
“I think he’s a person I know well — he is a good person,” Mr. Trump said.
President Trump likewise thought the sexual harassment suits against former Fox News Chief Roger Ailes were also baseless:
"I think they are unfounded just based on what I've read," Trump said of the accusations against Ailes. "Totally unfounded, based on what I read."
I guess we shouldn't be surprised by Trump's reaction considering his own history with women.


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