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UPDATE 1-Fox signed O'Reilly again knowing of new harassment settlement -report

From Reuters - October 21, 2017

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Bill OReilly, the Fox News commentator forced to resign in April, agreed to a $32 million sexual harassment settlement in January, and the networks parent knew about the deal when it gave him a new contract the next month, the New York Times reported on Saturday.

The previously undisclosed agreement, at least the sixth involving OReilly or the company related to harassment charges against him, was extraordinarily large for such cases, according to the newspaper, which cited two people briefed on the matter as its sources.

Twenty-First Century Fox Inc (FOXA.O) acknowledged that it had been aware of OReillys settlement with Lis Wiehl, a former Fox News legal analyst, when it signed a contract extension with The OReilly Factor host in February.

The company was informed by Mr. OReilly that he had settled the matter personally, on financial terms that he and Ms. Wiehl had agreed were confidential and not disclosed to the company, 21st Century Fox said in a statement emailed by spokesman Nathaniel Brown.

The Times report was strongly disputed by OReilly spokesman Mark Fabiani, who called it a malicious smear aimed at harming the conservative talk show hosts career.

In its latest diatribe against Bill OReilly, the Times printed leaked information provided by anonymous sources that is out of context, false, defamatory, and obviously designed to embarrass Bill OReilly and to keep him from competing in the marketplace, Fabiani said in a statement emailed to Reuters.

Wiehl could not be immediately reached for comment. But Fabiani provided Reuters with a copy of what he said was an affidavit from her, saying she had settled her differences with both OReilly and Fox News, and had no claims against either one of them.

At the end of 2016, I hired counsel who prepared a draft complaint asserting claims against Bill OReilly, the notarized document said. We have since resolved all of our issues. I would no longer make the allegations contained in the draft complaint.

According to the Times, top executives of 21st Century Fox, including Rupert Murdoch and his two sons, Lachlan and James,decided in January to retain OReilly despite being made aware of the fresh complaints, the Times reported. The next month, the company gave OReilly a contract extension worth $25 million a year.

The disclosures follow allegations reported earlier this month by The New York Times and The New Yorker that Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein sexually harassed or assaulted a number of women in incidents dating back to the 1980s. Reuters was unable to independently confirm any of the allegations, and Weinstein, 65, has denied having non-consensual sex with anyone.

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