I was asked by one of my readers – and I do not know whether they are male or female – what I thought of the Bill O’Reilly/Liz Wiehl mutual settlement over allegations of sexual harassment …
While it would be easy to pile-on the condemn Bill O’Reilly bandwagon; I must – in all honesty – acknowledge that there are women out there who deliberately exploit the vulnerability of wealthy and/or prominent individuals. Thus I am not sure of any of the facts but offer this analysis.
According to published reports, the allegations allegedly leveled against O'Reilly were said to be both shocking and serious, and possibly part of a pattern and practice of sexual aggression. Aggression known to O’Reilly’s employer who was also dealing with similar allegations against other executives. According to O'Reilly, he settled three matters in 20 years at Fox which he claimed he settled to protect his children. Children whose primary custody was awarded to O'Reilly's wife after four years of a nasty battle.
While the terms of the settlement remain confidential, it was reported to involve $32 million to be paid over a period of four years with the expectation that both parties would be incentivized to allow the matter to die of its own accord.
However, with all of the rumors and reporting about Bill O’Reilly’s $32 million settlement with Liz Wiehl, there is little or no doubt in my mind that something happened; and that the issues involved were far from trivial or easily explained away. Nobody, with the exception of a Michael Jackson who is alleged to have diddled little boys, would pay out $32 million to stem false and misleading allegations. O'Reilly has claimed he cannot make any statement without returning for years of litigation.
However, O’Reilly also has a valid point that many settlements are made by companies (or their insurers) to stem the tide of continuing reputational damage. In O’Reilly’s case, he may have been protecting his 100 million dollar contract with Fox that was about to be renewed. A powerful incentive to avoid a prolonged and messy fight in the court of public opinion. A fight which he ultimately lost due to the interference of hyper-partisan progressive socialist democrats.
The allegations …
The statement crafted by O’Reilly’s crisis manager …
Liz Wiehl’s proffered affidavit …
I especially appreciate the craftsmanship in the drafting of this agreement as it provides Bill O’Reilly with plausible deniability for sending obscene materials to Lis Wiehl, suggesting that such explicit content may have been submitted for legal reasons to Wiehl who was acting as his attorney. Of course, one may wonder why these communications were not automatically covered by the attorney-client privilege and thus could not be used in any draft allegations?
The many faces of Bill O’Reilly …
After watching Bill O’Reilly for years and enjoying his show (up until two years ago when I stopped regularly watching Fox News), I still wonder who O’Reilly, the man, might be.
- Is he the accomplished creator/writer/producer/host of the most-watched commentary program on cable television?
- Is he a humble man, raised in modest circumstances, looking out “for the folks?”
- Is the pugnacious persona hiding another wealthy, and elite New Yorker who hobnobs with the powerful and privileged?
- Is he a hard-working author of books and a newsletter?
- Is he the patron saint of charities which benefit from the sales of his tchotchkes which he endlessly flogs on the air?
- Is he a businessman whose business happens to be media-driven?
- Is he the uber-loyal protector of his employer and friends?
- Is he the aggressor in a hard-fought custody battle with his divorced wife – and lost the primary residential custody of his children?
- Is he the heartless bastard who reportedly tried to get his wife sanctioned by the Catholic Church due to her taking communion while divorced?
Is he all of these things or is he just another guy, caught up in the circumstances of his life and believing his own invincible bullshit?
I still do not know, will never know, and believe that the matter should be laid to rest. However, we should remember that Lis Wiehl is an attorney and subject to disbarment if there are material misrepresentations that were signed under penalty of perjury.
"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius