Gretchen Carlson: 'Horrifying' that Fox would let O'Reilly back on air

Gretchen Carlson: 'Horrifying' that Fox would let O'Reilly back on air

Gretchen Carlson: 'Horrifying' that Fox would let O'Reilly back on air

Even so, 21st Century Fox reportedly began contract negotiations with O'Reilly, Fox News' most lucrative host, and agreed to a four-year, extended contract paying him $25 million a year.

The contract was signed even though executives at 21st Century Fox were aware of complaints against O'Reilly by Fox News legal analyst Lis Wiehl, the Times reported.

In a statement, parent company 21st Century Fox said was aware of the settlement, but not the sum, when it signed a $25m-a-year contract renewal. Wiehl claimed that she been subject to a pattern of behavior that included "harassment, a nonconsensual sexual relationship and the sending of gay pornography and other sexually explicit material to her", according to people familiar with the settlement.

The amount that O'Reilly settled for - $32 million - and the fact that Fox still re-upped O'Reilly's after the fact, despite not knowing the details of the settlement at the time, is what made the story so big. Company officials said they would have renewed O'Reilly's contract whether Kelly had stayed or not.

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It was at least the sixth agreement - and by far the largest - made by either Mr. O'Reilly or the company to settle harassment allegations against him.

Mr. O'Reilly told The New York Times that he had been receiving threatening messages during his time at Fox News and was forwarding some of the material to Ms. Wiehl since she was one of his attorneys, according to the report. Writing on the ties between O'Reilly and Weinstein, the Times's Jim Rutenberg notes that, "a full, public airing did not come to be until those meddling reporters came along".

Fox News did not immediately respond to TPM's request for comment.

The sexual harassment allegations and the publicity around them are "politically and financially motivated", O'Reilly told the Times this week, "and we can prove it with shocking information, but I'm not going to sit here in a courtroom for a year and a half and let my kids get beaten up every single day of their lives by a tabloid press that would sit there, and you know it". O'Reilly's record-breaking contract came just months after the Murdochs pushed out Roger Ailes, who built the network into the cultural force it is today, over allegations of Ailes's own longtime pattern of alleged sexual impropriety.

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