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Bill O’Reilly used to leer at an African-American Fox News clerical worker and called her “hot chocolate,” according to attorney Lisa Bloom, who helped the woman report the harassment to the network’s hotline.
The woman worked for a different broadcaster in 2008 while this was going on, but The O’Reilly Factor host’s office was near her desk, the attorney claims.
“He would never talk to her, not even hello, except to grunt at her like a wild boar,” Bloom tells The Hollywood Reporter. “He would leer at her. He would always do this when no one else was around and she was scared.”
Bloom says she spoke with three witnesses who knew the woman at the time and confirmed she was upset and stressed at the end of each workday. “She’s not asking for any money,” says Bloom. “She just wants them to know her story.”
At the time, Bloom says the woman valued her job too much to risk speaking up.
“She was afraid if she told him to knock it off she’d get fired,” Bloom says. “Now that’s she’s aware this is all in the news, she’s decided to phone in a complaint to the Fox News hotline.”
An attorney for Bill O’Reilly, Marc E. Kasowitz, responded with a statement to CNN that read: “It is outrageous that an allegation from an anonymous person about something that purportedly happened a decade ago is being treated as fact, especially when there is an obviously orchestrated campaign by activists and lawyers to destroy Mr. O’Reilly and enrich themselves through publicity driven donations.”
Kasowitz, who is a longtime attorney for Donald Trump, did not respond to a request for comment from THR.
Bloom is also representing radio personality Wendy Walsh, who says she was forced out of the network after refusing O’Reilly’s advances. An April 1 New York Times story revealed explosive allegations against O’Reilly, including that during his tenure at the network at least five women have been paid off to keep silent about harassment. In the story, Fox said in a statement that “no current or former Fox News employee ever took advantage of the 21st Century Fox hotline to raise a concern about Bill O’Reilly.”
So far at least this woman and Walsh have taken advantage of the line — and, soon, another woman is also expected to call and report harassment by the anchor, according to Bloom.
The allegations against O’Reilly follow a flurry of litigation and press involving women who say they were harassed by and-or retaliated against by ousted-CEO Roger Ailes. Gretchen Carlson was the first to sue last summer, and several other women have filed litigation since. Ailes was terminated shortly after Megyn Kelly spoke with Fox investigators about her experience, which she details in her book.
Earlier this month, Bloom sent a letter to the New York State Division of Human Rights asking it to intervene at Fox News and calling the network a “cesspool of sexual harassment, intimidation and retaliation.”
O’Reilly said on his April 11 show that he was taking a pre-planned vacation until April 24.
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