Bill O’Reilly is once again facing a lawsuit for defamation and engaging in a “smear campaign” against the women who accused him of sexual misconduct.
Former Fox News anchor Laurie Dhue filed a suit in a Manhattan federal court on Thursday. According to Dhue, O’Reilly on numerous occasions called her and the other women liars, claims that Dhue said harmed her reputation and career.
The New York Times reported last year that at least five women received settlements in relation to sexual misconduct allegations they made against O’Reilly. The suits reportedly totaled about $13 million. O’Reilly said in a statement regarding the report, “I’m vulnerable to lawsuits from individuals who want me to pay them to avoid negative publicity.”
In an initial statement O’Reilly called the allegations “completely unfounded” and called it “tremendously disheartening” that his relationship with Fox News ended because of them. According to the suit, on one occasion O’Reilly said the women are lying and that “[i]t has to do with far-left progressive organizations that are bent on destroying anybody with whom they disagree.”
O’Reilly described the allegations against him as a “‘hit-job’ motivated by politics and finance,” adding his “conscience is clear,” per Dhue’s suit. He called the claims “dishonest to the extreme” and said that he has had no complaints filed against him in over four decades of work.
O’Reilly also said in an interview that the president, who is currently enthralled in his own sexual misconduct mess, “understands that no one was mistreated on my watch, because that’s the truth.”
O’Reilly’s lawyer in a statement blamed Dhue.
“Mr. O’Reilly has never mentioned Dhue, and any attention she has received has been the result of her own actions. Mr. O’Reilly will defend himself in court fully and aggressively against all unfounded, opportunistic claims, and he will seek all appropriate legal remedies as well,” said attorney Frederic S. Newman, according to the Washington Post.
Dhue has kept a very low profile since news of the settlement went public, according to the suit, “despite reporters attempting to contact her by phone, email, text message, and even showing up at her family members’ homes.”
But even while staying silent, her reputation has been severely tarnished. She was even used in an advertisement for male enhancement pills, with her image being used alongside O’Reilly’s. She did not consent to this.
In addition to being a news anchor on Fox, Dhue also previously worked on CNN and MSNBC. Her lawsuit describes her as a journalist as well as an advocate for substance and alcohol abuse recovery — two fields in which credibility is crucial.
“Labeling a journalist or advocate as a liar — especially in an area where they are not reporting or advocating — damages her career,” the lawsuit notes.
This is not the first defamation lawsuit O’Reilly faces. Three other women teamed up on a lawsuit against O’Reilly in December. Rachel Witlieb Bernstein, Andrea Mackris and Rebecca Gomez Diamond all similarly claimed that O’Reilly’s behavior after the Times piece made himself look like a victim and painted the women as liars.
“In [his statement], defendant O’Reilly portrayed himself as a ‘target’ and claimed that complaints against him are extortionate. This is false. In fact, he is a serial abuser and Ms. Bernstein’s complaints about him were far from extortionate,” the suit states.