According to NBC News, Bill O’Reilly’s sudden departure from Fox News is netting him a payout of $25 million, according to a source with knowledge of O’Reilly’s contract. O’Reilly continues to maintain that he has done nothing wrong.
Despite apparent knowledge of complaints against O’Reilly, and the payment of $13 million in hush-money to 5 earlier complainants, Fox inked a new four-year contract last month guaranteeing that he make at least $25 million dollars annually, according to a person with knowledge of that contract. The contract did allow Fox to fire him in general if controversy was harming the network, the person added.
His severance deal has not been disclosed publicly, but was part of the agreement for him to part ways with 21st Century Fox, New York magazine journalist Gabe Sherman said on The TODAY Show.
O’Reilly’s payout appears to be less than that given to former Fox News chief Roger Ailes. Ailes resigned last summer after facing his own sexual harassment complaints made by female staffers. Ailes — who became the channel’s founding CEO in 1996, the same year O’Reilly joined — reportedly received $40 million as part of his separation agreement. Ailes has also denied wrongdoing.
April is officially Sexual Assault Awareness Month and it kicked off with President Trump seeking exoneration for O’Reilly, telling the New York Times that he believed O’Reilly did nothing wrong. But with back-stories emerging that it was the wives of the 20th Century Fox leadership that tipped the scale against O’Reilly, perhaps awareness to sexual harassment has been raised.
The culture of sexual misconduct supersedes Fox, however. NBC fired Billy Bush with a multi-million dollar payout for his escapades with Donald Trump during the now famous “Grab ‘em by the pussy” statement. The presidency is still shrouded in shadows by women who have unsettled claims against Donald Trump, now president of the United States and perhaps insulated from having to face those charges.
The tragedy here is that there appears to be huge rewards when rich and powerful white men abuse their station and authority. The way out for them is paved with gold, not with punishment or contrition. I guess there is some truth to the musings of F. Scott Fitzgerald when he wrote, “Let me tell you about the very rich. They are different from you and me.”