A woman who settled a sexual harassment complaint against former Fox News host Bill O'Reilly alleges in a new suit that he and the network breached their nondisparagement and confidentiality agreements after she was outed in a New York Times story about claims against O'Reilly.
"Fox News has been aware of complaints about inappropriate behavior by Mr. O'Reilly since at least 2002, when Mr. O'Reilly stormed into the newsroom and screamed at a young producer, according to current and former employees, some of whom witnessed the incident".
The New York Times reports that Bernstein sued O'Reilly for defamation and breach of contract, arguing that his public statements about the settlement violated the terms of the agreement, which includes nondisclosure and non-disparagement clauses.
"O'Reilly depicted Ms. Bernstein in a false light, criticized and derided her character, raising doubt about her intentions in detailing O'Reilly's manhandle to HR and at last being constrained out at Fox News with a settlement assention", she asserts in her suit.
"O'Reilly portrayed himself as a "target" and claimed that complaints against him are extortionate", Ms. Bernstein's lawsuit said. "The case did not involve sexual harassment".
"In fact, Mr. O'Reilly is the liar", claims Bernstein's lawsuit.
The story and others would cause O'Reilly to lose his job, but not before he commented, "Just like other prominent and controversial people, I'm vulnerable to lawsuits from individuals who want me to pay them to avoid negative publicity".
Bernstein was one of the five women mentioned in the Times story in April, which prompted dozens of advertisers to flee O'Reilly's top-rated Fox show and the network to eventually fire him.
O'Reilly was sacked on April 19 from Fox News after a 20-year run at the cable network.
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.
A Fox News spokesperson and representative for O'Reilly did not respond to a request for comment.
Bernstein said there was no hot line in existence at the time of her employment.