I'm not a lawyer and I don't really have any kind of feel for what the going rate is on settling sexual harassment suits (although I will say that Fox News seems to be the greatest source of any familiarity I have with such things), but $32 million seems like an awful lot of money. I get that he was top-rated talent for the network, but when the NYT describes something quite like this:
Although the deal has not been previously made public, the network’s parent company, 21st Century Fox, acknowledges that it was aware of the woman’s complaints about Mr. O’Reilly. They included allegations of repeated harassment, a nonconsensual sexual relationship and the sending of gay pornography and other sexually explicit material to her, according to the people briefed on the matter.
It was at least the sixth agreement — and by far the largest — made by either Mr. O’Reilly or the company to settle harassment allegations against him. Despite that record, 21st Century Fox began contract negotiations with Mr. O’Reilly, and in February granted him a four-year extension that paid $25 million a year.
you kind of wonder--how much did his shitty behavior towards women cost the network, all told? Also, didn't anyone think that maybe O'Reilly needed more than a sternly-worded clause in his contract to keep from being a total gross abusive sleaze? And also, didn't anyone give a damn what this kind of pattern of behavior meant to women who worked for the company?
Just to highlight one little piece of that excerpt, "a nonconsensual sexual relationship" really sounds like a discussion of rape. So leaving aside whatever O' Reilly's qualities were as a broadcaster--they were paying for the privilege of letting him quietly be, quite possibly, a rapist?
As with the Weinstein story, this shows the disgusting lengths to which some people will knowingly go to not expose monsters. We can speculate about the kind of details and proof that would be behind a $32 million settlement--but that O'Reilly's contract was extended that he was still talent in good standing with Fox speaks volumes about the regard held for O'Reilly's victims, past, present and future.
And make no mistake--O'Reilly was not the only cretin. From Roger Ailes to Eric Bolling, there's stories--but in O'Reilly's spokesperson's defense of him, a vicious picture emerges. From Mark Fabiani:
It really is obscene.