In his first interview since losing his show on Fox News, Bill O’Reilly broke the silence on his firing and the sexual harassment claims that led to his show’s demise.
Speaking with TODAY’s Matt Lauer, O’Reilly maintained his innocence and declared himself the victim of a “financial hit job.”
“If you look at the totality, this was a hit job – a political and financial hit job,” he told TODAY.
O’Reilly was fired in April amid allegations of sexual harassment. The former O’Reilly Factor host had reportedly contributed $13 million in settlements to five women who claimed they were sexually harassed by O’Reilly while working together.
“Sexual harassment is prohibited by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964,” writes Schaefer Hallen, a law firm not connected to O’Reilly or the incident. “More than 40 years have gone by since the Act was passed, yet men and women continue to suffer, on a regular basis, from sexual harassment in all types of workplaces.”
O’Reilly has denied the charges, but refused to elaborate on his defense. He said his legal team was aggressive in pushing his “point of view.”
The former host said Fox made a business decision when firing him, and he blamed “boycotts” by far left-wing organizations.
O’Reilly’s firing came after Roger Ailes, who resigned in July 2016 amid his own allegations of sexual harassment. In the aftermath of Ailes stepping down, O’Reilly said there was a “flood of lawsuits” with “dozens of people named.”
“Those lawsuits involved many other people, not just me. I’m not going to speculate about intent or why people did what they did,” he said. “The lawsuits involved many people. I was named in a few of them.”
Lauer pushed O’Reilly on the validity of the harassment claims, questioning why Fox News would fire the host of their most-watched show without compelling evidence that the claims were true.
O’Reilly said that the network had “billions of dollars at stake in business deals.”
“They made a business decision that they could possibly prosper more without me. It was as simple as that. It was a business decision.”
O’Reilly doesn’t plan to fight publicly against the claims, as he says “every allegation is a conviction.”
The former Fox News host also spoke about his new book “Killing England,” which focuses on the Revolutionary War through the eyes of America’s founding fathers: George Washington, Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson.