Fox renewed Bill O'Reilly's contract a month after he paid a record $32 million to settle a sexual harassment claim

  • Former Fox News primetime host Bill O'Reilly settled a sexual harassment claim in January for a record $32 million. 
  • One month later, Fox News' parent company, 21st Century Fox, renewed O'Reilly's contract, giving him a four-year deal with a $25 million annual salary. 
  • 21st Century Fox executive Rupert Murdoch and his sons decided to stand by O'Reilly despite the mounting allegations against him. 

Former Fox News headliner Bill O'Reilly settled a new sexual harassment claim for a record $32 million in January, The New York Times reported on Saturday. 

Longtime network analyst Lis Wiehl accused the prime time host of repeated harassment, a nonconsensual sexual relationship, and sending gay pornography and other sexually explicit material to her, sources briefed on the matter told the Times.  

One month after O'Reilly settled the claim — which was at least the sixth agreement that had been reached relating to O'Reilly's sexual misconduct — Fox News' parent company, 21st Century Fox, renewed the host's contract with the network and agreed to a four-year deal with a $25 million annual salary. 

25 PHOTOS
Bill O'Reilly through the years
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Bill O'Reilly through the years
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 17: Talk Show Host Bill O'Reilly is seen on October 17, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Patricia Schlein/Star Max/GC Images)
THE TONIGHT SHOW STARRING JIMMY FALLON -- Episode 0263 -- Pictured: (l-r) Bill O'Reilly and host Jimmy Fallon on May 14, 2015 -- (Photo by: Douglas Gorenstein/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 23: Author Bill O'Reilly attends the 'Killing Jesus' World Premiere at Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center on March 23, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Steve Mack/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 23: (L-R) The cast of Nat Geo's 'Killing Jesus' Haaz Sleiman, Eoin Macken, Stephanie Leonidas, Alexis Rodney, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Joe Doyle, Chris Ryman and Kelsey Grammer pose with 'Killing Jesus' book author, Bill O'Reilly (C) at the red carpet event and world premiere of National Geographic Channel's 'Killing Jesus' at Alice Tully Hall on March 23, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Brad Barket/Getty Images for National Geographic Channel)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 23: 'Killing Jesus' book author, Bill O'Reilly attends the red carpet event and world premiere of National Geographic Channel's 'Killing Jesus' at Alice Tully Hall on March 23, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Paul Zimmerman/WireImage)
TODAY -- Pictured: Bill O'Reilly appears on NBC News' 'Today' show -- (Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)
LATE NIGHT WITH SETH MEYERS -- Episode 0142-- Pictured: (l-r) Bill O'Reilly during an interview with host Seth Meyers on December 17, 2014 -- (Photo by: Lloyd Bishop/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 13: Bill O'Reilly (R) interviews Katie Couric during her visit to 'The O'Reilly Factor' at FOX Studios on May 13, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by D Dipasupil/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 09: Rob Lowe talks to host Bill O'Reilly at Fox News' 'The O'Reilly Factor' at Fox News Studios on April 9, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Rob Kim/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 28: Bill O'Reilly attends the National Geographic Channel's 'Killing Kennedy' World Premiere at The Newseum on October 28, 2013 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Kris Connor/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 16: TV personality Bill O'Reilly enters the 'Late Show With David Letterman' taping at the Ed Sullivan Theater on October 16, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Ray Tamarra/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 14: Television host Bill O'Reilly is seen exiting'Good Morning America' studios on May 14, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Raymond Hall/FilmMagic)
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 27: Bill O'Reilly, host of FOX News Channel's The O'Reilly Factor, waits for the arrival of U.S. President Barack Obama during an event about Obama's 'My Brother's Keeper' initiative in the East Room at the White House February 27, 2014 in Washington, DC. As part of his 'Year of Action,' Obama announced a $200 million commitment from nine foundations to bolster the education and employment of young men and boys of color. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
THE TONIGHT SHOW STARRING JIMMY FALLON -- Episode 0170 -- Pictured: Author Bill O'Reilly on November 25, 2014 -- (Photo by: Douglas Gorenstein/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 18: TV Personality Bill O'Reilly attends An Evening with Bill O'Reilly and Geraldo Rivera at 92nd Street Y on June 18, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Mark Sagliocco/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 04: Donald Trump and Bill O'Reilly attend the game between the New York Knicks and the Cleveland Cavaliers at Madison Square Garden on November 30, 2014 in New York City.NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 18: (L-R) TV Personalites Geraldo Rivera and Bill O'Reilly attend An Evening with Bill O'Reilly and Geraldo Rivera at 92nd Street Y on June 18, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Mark Sagliocco/FilmMagic)
TODAY -- Pictured: Bill O'Reilly appears on NBC News' 'Today' show -- (Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 16: Bill O'Reilly attends the 11th annual Giants of Broadcasting Honors at Gotham Hall on October 16, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Noam Galai/WireImage)
THE VIEW - (10.1.13) Today's guest co-host is Jason Biggs ('Orange is the New Black.') Guests include Bill OReilly (author, Killing Jesus); Matt Long and Lorraine Bruce (ABC's 'Lucky 7') on ABC's 'The View.' 'The View' airs Monday-Friday (11:00 am-12:00 pm, ET) on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Fred Lee/ABC via Getty Images) BARBARA WALTERS, BILL O'REILLY
Regis Philbin talks with Bill O'Reilly, of the O'Reilly Report, during the Court TV celebration of it's 10th anniversary at American Park inside Battery Park in New York City on July 18, 2001. photo by Gabe Palacio/ImageDirect
Bill O'Reilly attends the benefit for Homeless Children on November 16, 1989 at Letizia Restaurant in New York City. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO -- Episode 4420 -- Pictured: (l-r) Bill O'Reilly during an interview with host Jay Leno on March 1, 2013 -- (Photo by: Margaret Norton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: (l-r) Hoda Kotb, Kathie Lee Gifford and Bill O'Reilly appear on NBC News' 'Today' show -- (Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)
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The company said in a statement that it was not aware of the amount of O'Reilly's settlement with Wiehl and saw the dispute as a personal issue between the two. 

According to the Times, 21st Century Fox executives Rupert Murdoch and his sons, James and Lachlan, decided to back up O'Reilly in January despite the mounting allegations against him. That decision hinged on two factors: limiting the negative publicity that a second sexual harassment scandal — coming as the network grappled with fallout from the allegations against former chairman Roger Ailes — would bring, and Megyn Kelly's announcement that she would be leaving the network after signing a multi-year contract with NBC.

O'Reilly's $32 million agreement with Wiehl is the largest known amount paid out to settle a sexual misconduct claim at Fox News, according to the Times. The closest figure to that amount is the $20 million former host Gretchen Carlson received when she accused Ailes of sexual harassment in 2016. 

20 PHOTOS
Stars react to Bill O'Reilly's FOX News exit
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Stars react to Bill O'Reilly's FOX News exit
Say what you will, but Bill O'Reilly always had your back. And if you were a woman, he might try for your front, too. #RipPapaBear #LSSC
Bye, Bill O'Reilly. Don't let the door grab your pussy on the way out.
I'm certainly a narcissistic actor who loves attention but I take no joy in Bill O'Reilly. He's a disgusting pig & Fox News is still garbage
Bill O'Reilly. Bill Cosby. Billy Bush. I'M THE ONLY GOOD BILLY ON TV!!!!!
Gretchen Carlson. Megyn Kelly. Greta. Roger Ailes. Bill O'Reilly....amazing amount of exits -forced and voluntary- in 1 year at Fox News.
All the threats from O'Reilly's lawyers were bluffs. @DrWendyWalsh & @LisaBloom didn't back down. O'Reilly is gone. Protest voices heard.
New book by FOX News: Killing Bill O'Reilly.
It's confirmed: O'Reilly is fired. There is no force greater than the collective power of our voice. #DropOReilly https://t.co/uz5t4bxx2M
Well Bill, I guess we wont be doing it live. 👋🏼 @oreillyfactor https://t.co/NZkCHjFCQv
I say this in all sincerity, without joy, and with malice towards one: fuck Bill O'Reilly.
3 FAMOUS OLD MEN…ROGER AILELS, BILL O’REILLY,& DONALD TRUMP HAVE SEXUALLY HARASSED WOMEN 4 YRS,TWO GOT FIRED,& ONE WAS ELECTED PRESIDENT‼️
Fox firing Bill O'Reilly is huge and hopefully sends an effective signal to all guys, however powerful, who harass & maul women
Wait, @oreillyfactor is NOT returning to @FoxNews after his vacation?! Color me SHOCKED! 😒 #HowsMyHairBill? #DidItDistractYouFromThisTweet?
ICYMI @FoxNews has been settling w/ women for YEARS they only cut @oreillyfactor loose because they were losing $$$ #ProfitsOverPeople #MAGA
I guess when you elect the head crank you don't need the junior cranks anymore. https://t.co/Y9a3Sdycb1
Bill O'Reilly Alex Jones Rudy Giuliani Tomi Lahren Chris Christie People who are having a waaaaaay different 2017 than they expected.
New book by FOX News: Killing Bill O'Reilly.
I want to thank @oreillyfactor and @jasoninthehouse for their interest in @crookedmedia, but sadly we're not hiring new hosts at this time.
Bill O'Reilly out at @FoxNews next stops: court and prison!
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O'Reilly's lawyer disputed Wiehl's characterization of their relationship and said the host's relationship with the network analyst was an 18-year friendship during which she sometimes gave him legal counsel. 

Mark Fabiani, O'Reilly's spokesman, said regarding Wiehl's allegations of a nonconsensual sexual relationship that 21st Century Fox was "well aware" Wiehl had signed an affidavit "renouncing all allegations" against O'Reilly and that after the agreement was reached, Fox News offered O'Reilly "a record breaking contract," per The Times. 

O'Reilly told the Times on Wednesday that none of the allegations against him held any merit. "I never mistreated anyone," O'Reilly said, and reiterated that he had reached settlements with his accusers because he wanted to shield his children from the repercussions and publicity surrounding the issue. 

"It's politically and financially motivated," O'Reilly told the Times, referring to the backlash that followed after the initial allegations against him were made public in April. "We can prove it with shocking information, but I'm not going to sit here in a courtroom for a year and a half and let my kids get beaten up every single day of their lives by a tabloid press that would sit there, and you know it," he said. 

O'Reilly was ultimately ousted from the network in April, following an exodus of advertisers from his show's time slot. Earlier that month, the Times published an investigation that found that O'Reilly and Fox News had paid out $13 million to five women to settle sexual-harassment claims they had brought against him.

Multiple other women accused O'Reilly of sexual harassment after the report was published. Shortly before O'Reilly was booted, an unnamed black woman said through her attorney, Lisa Bloom, that O'Reilly leered at her and called her "hot chocolate" in 2008. Bloom is also representing Wendy Walsh, a former Fox News contributor who has said that O'Reilly reneged on an offer of employment after she rebuffed his advances and declined an invitation to his hotel suite in 2013.

"After a thorough and careful review of the allegations, the Company and Bill O'Reilly have agreed that Bill O'Reilly will not be returning to the Fox News Channel," 21st Century Fox, the parent company of Fox News, said in the statement in April.

In an internal memo obtained by Business Insider, Murdoch and his sons, Lachlan and James, said that "after a thorough and careful review of allegations against him, the company and Bill O'Reilly have agreed that Mr. O'Reilly will not return to the Fox News Channel.

"This decision follows an extensive review done in collaboration with outside counsel," the memo said. 

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SEE ALSO: Here are all the companies and organizations that have pulled ads from Bill O'Reilly's show after he was accused of sexual harassment

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