Two former Fox Information workers who acquired settlements after complaining about Invoice O’Reilly’s sexual harassment are suing the community and the conservative talkshow host for publicly trashing them and casting them as liars.
Attorneys for Rebecca Gomez Diamond and Andrea Mackris introduced Wednesday that the ladies had joined a defamation lawsuit that former Fox Information producer Rachel Witlieb Bernstein filed earlier this month in Manhattan Federal Court docket.
Diamond and Mackris — like Bernstein — mentioned each Fox Information and O’Reilly have tried to color them as opportunists searching for a payday from a celeb.
Diamond, Mackris and Bernstein had been recognized in a New York Occasions story on April 1 as three of 5 girls to whom O’Reilly paid settlements over intercourse harassment accusations.
The lawsuit says that each Diamond, a former Fox Enterprise Community host, and Mackris, an ex-“O’Reilly Issue” producer, had non-disparagement clauses of their settlements. The ladies mentioned they weren’t the supply of the Occasions story — however when it got here out, they had been tarred.
“They’re bored with being smeared with lies by a bully who thinks that his victims are afraid to reply them,” mentioned Nancy Erika Smith, a lawyer for the plaintiffs. “They’re standing up for the reality, becoming a member of the various voices of courageous girls who’re now not tolerating abuse or being silenced.”
Fox Information didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark for this story.
In response to the Occasions story on April 1, Fox Information mentioned in a press release that no girl had ever referred to as the 21st Century Fox hotline to complain.
The lawsuit says the community’s assertion was disingenuous since 21st Century Fox wasn’t the mum or dad firm of Fox Information till 2013 — lengthy after Diamond and Mackris had been sexually harassed. Furthermore, the ladies each made inside complaints to Fox Information about O’Reilly’s harassment, the lawsuit says.
Mackris mentioned she complained in regards to the harassment by way of her lawyer to Dianne Brandi, the vp of authorized affairs at Fox Information, however no investigation was performed.
The producer ultimately filed a lawsuit accusing O’Reilly of creepy cellphone calls the place he described sexual fantasies of her and gave the impression of he was masturbating.
However earlier than she sued, Fox Information filed a pre-emptive go well with, portraying her as an extortionist.
Fox Information ultimately agreed to pay her about $9 million in 2004.
“As an alternative, after smearing Ms. Mackris within the press and scary her with surveillance and bullying, defendant Fox Information settled Ms. Mackris’ authorized declare with the stipulation that she stay silent about O’Reilly’s harassment and go away Fox Information,” the lawsuit says.
Diamond additionally complained by way of her lawyer to Brandi. As an alternative of investigating, Fox Information gave her a settlement for an undisclosed quantity in 2001. A clause prohibited her from speaking about her declare, the lawsuit says.
In the meantime, O’Reilly made a number of statements to the press portray himself as an harmless sufferer, Mackris, Diamond and Bernstein’s lawsuit says.
He instructed the Hollywood Reporter in September that “nobody was mistreated on my watch.”
And through a guide tour in October, O’Reilly mentioned the settlements had been a “political and monetary hit job,” the lawsuit says.
“By claiming these girls didn’t complain, O’Reilly and Fox painting them as liars and extortionists,” mentioned Neil Mullin, an legal professional for the plaintiffs. “
Fox Information pushed out O’Reilly — their largest scores draw — only a few weeks after the April 1 Occasions story, which led to an exodus of advertisers.
The Occasions reported in October that O’Reilly paid $32 million to a longtime community analyst who made intercourse harassment claims. The payout got here shortly earlier than he inked a four-year $100 million contract with Fox Information in January.