Friday, October 29, 2004
Fox News buys the O'Reilly videotapes
Fox News Channel host Bill O'Reilly and his former associate producer, Andrea Mackris, have agreed to settle their dispute over her allegations that the television personality harassed her sexually.
This is a bit of an oversimplification. News Corporation ("one of the largest media corporations in the world"), Fox News Channel (wholly owned subsidiary of News Corp., with Rupert Murdoch as CEO and Roger Ailes as president), Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp. (wholly owned subsidiary of News Corp.) and Westwood One, Inc (O'Reilly's radio producer) were all defendants in the lawsuit that Makris filed. And Fox News Network was the plaintiff along with O'Reilly in the countersuit.
All parties would have had to agree to "settle"—i.e., pay through the nose. Makris alleged not only "sexual harassment" against O'Reilly but also a "sexually hostile work environment" against the other defendants.
"It's over, and I'm happy," the 33-year-old graduate of Columbia Graduate School of Journalism told CNN, in whose New York bureau she once worked. "I can't say anything else, but I do appreciate everybody."
I'm personally disappointed but not surprised. Andrea Makris, who had asked for $60 million1 not to file her suit (the basis of the "extortion" counterclaim), was clearly more interested in money than principle. Can't say as I blame her. You can buy an awful lot of principle for $60 million.
O'Reilly's counsel released a statement saying,
"All cases and claims have been withdrawn, and all parties have agreed there was no wrongdoing whatsoever by Mr. O'Reilly, Ms. Mackris or Ms. Mackris' counsel, Benedict P. Morelli and associates."
"We now withdraw any assertion that any extortion by Ms. Mackris, Mr. Morelli, or Morelli and associates occurred," the statement said. "Out of respect for their families and privacy, all parties and their representatives have agreed that all information relating to the cases shall remain confidential."
But as I mentioned in a previous post, there are other women waiting in the wings. Does this mean that Fox has paid hush money all around, or are there more lawsuits to come? Stay tuned.
And will O'Reilly be able to keep his pants zipped? I'm sufficiently concerned that I've written Fox to ask them to please consider chemical castration. It is painless, and women everywhere will thank them for it.
Foreplay with a loofah? (updated)