Bill O'Reilly to Glenn Beck: What Megyn Kelly's saying is "incomprehensible"

You need to read the two notes Megyn Kelly has sent me over the years, he says to Beck in response to Kelly’s comments this morning. Beck obliges. Here they are:

O’Reilly’s circulating those as though they’re proof that he never harassed Kelly. But Kelly never accused him of that. As Ed noted earlier, the “behavior” she complained about to Fox management wasn’t harassment, it was comments that O’Reilly made on a particular date — November 15, 2016, the day her book alleging harassment by Roger Ailes was published. O’Reilly appeared on CBS that morning to say how much he disliked certain unnamed people for making his network look bad and then repeated the charge on “The O’Reilly Factor” that night. Anyone who has a personnel problem at work, he noted, should take their claims to HR or else resign and sue in order to extricate themselves from the situation. *That’s* the O’Reilly “behavior” Kelly objected to. She didn’t like that he was so glib about the harassment culture at Fox and that he used the network’s own airwaves to essentially tell Ailes’s victims “quit if you don’t like it.” Both of the undated notes above were probably written long before last November. In which case they prove … what, exactly? That the two were friendly before he decided to side with Ailes against her? Go figure. Go figure.

Arguably the notes do prove that Kelly never put much stock in the harassment allegations that dogged O’Reilly prior to 2016. He had reached three settlements with women before then, according to the NYT; maybe Kelly had given him the benefit of the doubt, notwithstanding the sordid details about the Andrea Mackris case that had been published years earlier. It wouldn’t be surprising, though, if she did suspect O’Reilly of wrongdoing while still maintaining a professional friendship with him. She was cordial with Roger Ailes for years before publicizing what happened between them. Gretchen Carlson was reportedly cordial with Ailes too before landing a $20 million settlement from Fox over his treatment of her. How women co-exist with men who’ve harassed them or their colleagues is a subject above my pay grade but I think it’s way too pat to assume that cordiality after the fact in the interest of co-existence necessarily disproves that the harassment happened. Clearly some women fear that accusing a powerful man will end more than their employment at a particular firm, it’ll end their career, which is why O’Reilly’s advice to victims to quit is too cavalier. If you’re afraid you’ll be blackballed in your industry if you resign and you’re afraid you’ll be fired or marginalized at work if you stay put and speak up, the logical path might be to stay quiet and try to steer the harasser into an arm’s-length friendly-ish professional relationship. That’s what Kelly evidently had with Ailes. But it doesn’t mean the harassment didn’t happen. Or that it didn’t bother her.

O’Reilly also seizes on the fact that Lis Wiehl, with whom he reportedly settled for $32 million(!?!^&@), did more than just sign a nondisclosure agreement. She signed an affidavit under penalty of perjury stating — well, just read for yourself:

Beck and O’Reilly note that Wiehl’s not only guilty of perjury if she signed that not believing it to be true, she could also be disbarred. O’Reilly touts it as essentially an admission that nothing happened between them. Read it again, though, remembering that Wiehl is a Harvard-trained lawyer. All it says that she’s “resolved” her issues with O’Reilly, no longer has any claims, and would no longer make the allegations in her complaint. Well, of course not: That’s the point of the settlement, to get her to agree not to sue. What the affidavit doesn’t say is that she recants the allegations in her complaint as having been untrue. You’re left wondering why, if nothing happened between them, there’s nothing in there that states plainly, “I, Lis Wiehl, hereby acknowledge that Bill O’Reilly never harassed, assaulted, raped, or behaved otherwise inappropriately with me in any way.” You would think $32 million farking dollars would buy at least that much. The reason it doesn’t state that, I assume, is precisely because Wiehl couldn’t attest to a false statement on pain of perjury. That’s what Ken White, a former assistant U.S. attorney, means when he says it’s the “opposite of convincing.” If you were being blackmailed with false allegations to the tune of 32 large, at the barest minimum you would expect your accuser to state clearly as part of the settlement that you did nothing wrong, there was no misconduct, you’re a scholar and a gentleman, you’re welcome to babysit the affiant’s children whenever you like, etc. Instead O’Reilly got … this. Either he has the worst lawyer in the world or this affidavit is basically Wiehl’s way of saying, “Yep, something happened, and I’m not going to perjure myself by claiming otherwise.”

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David Strom 5:21 PM on March 31, 2023