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Fox News Distances Itself from Bill O'Reilly in Defamation Lawsuit

By TheBlast Staff

Fox News claims Bill O'Reilly is no longer their problem and doesn't want to be held liable for anything he said to defend himself against allegations of sexual harassment ... especially anything he said since they fired him.

As The Blast first reported, a former producer who reached a settlement with the former Fox News anchor in 2002 sued O'Reilly and Fox News claiming they disparaged her in interviews.

Bernstein claimed that with the rash of allegations of sexual harassment against O'Reilly — her claims against O’Reilly did not involve sexual harassment — he has essentially badmouthed her by grouping her with his other accusers.

An amended complaint was filed a few weeks later adding two other plaintiffs, who had previously reached settlements with O'Reilly, to the suit.

In a new filing by Fox News obtained by The Blast, the network argues that they did not participate in or authorize O'Reilly's statements. They claim "O’Reilly’s statements were obviously made to advance his personal interests, and there are no facts alleged to support the notion that Fox News authorized O’Reilly to make those statements or participated in their drafting or release."

They add, "Plaintiffs have not alleged that it was 'within the interest of' Fox News for O’Reilly to speak about the effect of accusations on his personal life, especially when [21st Century Fox] separately provided its own statement, nor have they alleged that his statement was part of the job he was 'hired to do.'"

Fox News also argues that they "cannot be vicariously liable for any statement made after O’Reilly was dismissed."

The network is seeking to have the case dismissed. A judge has yet to rule.

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