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Amid News of Harassment Settlements, Report Says O’Reilly’s Contract Was Recently Renewed at Fox

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Amid reports from The New York Times today about settlements paid to multiple women who alleged sexual harassment from Bill O’Reilly, a follow-up report in The Wall Street Journal says that O’Reilly’s Fox News contract was recently renewed.

O’Reilly today released the following statement:

Just like other prominent and controversial people, I’m vulnerable to lawsuits from individuals who want me to pay them to avoid negative publicity. 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.

But most importantly, I’m a father who cares deeply for my children and who would do anything to avoid hurting them in any way. And so I have put to rest any controversies to spare my children.

The worst part of my job is being a target for those who would harm me and my employer, the Fox News Channel. Those of us in the arena are constantly at risk, as are our families and children. My primary efforts will continue to be to put forth an honest TV program and to protect those close to me.

Additionally, 21st Century Fox said in a statement that “no current or former Fox News employee ever took advantage of the 21st Century Fox hotline to raise a concern about Bill O’Reilly, even anonymously”:

We have looked into these matters over the last few months and discussed them with Mr. O’Reilly. While he denies the merits of these claims, Mr. O’Reilly has resolved those he regarded as his personal responsibility. Mr. O’Reilly is fully committed to supporting our efforts to improve the environment for all our employees at Fox News.

The Wall Street Journal — Fox News’ corporate cousin — reports tonight that the company is standing by O’Reilly, as his contract was recently renewed:

Mr. O’Reilly’s contract, which was due to expire at the end of this year, was recently renewed, according to people close to the parties involved. The recent review of the allegations against Mr. O’Reilly was taken into consideration when the network negotiated a new contract with the anchor, a person familiar with the matter said.

O’Reilly’s lawyer, Fredric S. Newman, told the Times, “We are now seriously considering legal action to defend Mr. O’Reilly’s reputation.”

[image via screengrab]

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Josh Feldman is a Senior Editor at Mediaite. Email him here: [email protected] Follow him on Twitter: @feldmaniac