NEW YORK (AP) – A Fox News contributor came forward to level more sexual-harassment allegations against deposed chief executive Roger Ailes on Monday, two days after it was revealed the network’s most popular on-air personality, Bill O’Reilly, has settled multiple complaints about his own behavior with women.
O’Reilly returned to the air on Monday following a weekend report in The New York Times that he and his employer had paid five women $13 million to settle allegations of sexual harassment or other inappropriate conduct by Fox’s ratings king.
Meanwhile, the lawyer for another woman who says she was punished for rebuffing O’Reilly’s advances called on New York City’s Human Rights Commission to investigate O’Reilly’s behavior.
The new lawsuit against Ailes was brought by Fox’s Julie Roginsky and is notable because it accuses Fox’s current management of trying to cover up for Ailes.
She was seeking a permanent role on Fox’s show “The Five.” But after an April 2015 meeting at which she turned down Ailes’ advances, he wouldn’t meet with her again, and she never got the regular role, she said.
Later, she said, she was pressured to join Team Roger, a group of people who publicly defended Ailes when the first harassment complaint made public against the Fox boss was brought by Gretchen Carlson last summer. Roginsky refused.
Roginsky said that during a meeting in December, new Fox top executive Bill Shine told her he didn’t believe the allegations against Ailes until recently. But the lawsuit alleges Shine and other top Fox executives should have known about Ailes’ behavior much earlier.
“Shine and other senior executives kept Ailes’ conduct secret and enabled it,” said the lawsuit, filed in state court.
At a Los Angeles news conference Monday, lawyer Lisa Bloom detailed allegations against O’Reilly by Wendy Walsh, a regular guest on the prime-time show “The O’Reilly Factor.”
Bloom said O’Reilly had told Walsh he would recommend her for a paid contributor role on the network. Walsh and O’Reilly had dinner in Los Angeles in 2013, but when Walsh refused his invitation to go to his hotel room, his attitude changed and she was soon dropped from the show, according to Walsh.
Walsh said she came forward because she was told by a Times reporter that many of the women who have accused O’Reilly of harassment are bound by gag orders. She said she is not bound by any such agreement, and the statute of limitations for suing has run out.
“Nobody can silence me because my voice is not for sale,” Walsh said. “Nobody can buy my voice.”
O’Reilly’s ratings have gone up over the past year with the intense interest in politics. Independent studies show he generates more than $100 million in advertising revenue per year for TV’s top-rated cable news network. But at least one advertiser, car company Mercedes-Benz, said it was pulling its ads from the show because of the “disturbing” allegations.