In first show since bombshell report, O'Reilly stays mum on settlements

O'Reilly accuser: 'My voice is not for sale'
O'Reilly accuser: 'My voice is not for sale'

Fox News host Bill O'Reilly opened his top-rated program Monday night by teasing an "explosive new report." But not the one about him.

The show unfolded without a mention of a New York Times article published this weekend which detailed settlements struck with five different women who had accused O'Reilly of sexual harassment or verbal abuse.

Instead, Monday's edition of "The O'Reilly Factor" played out like virtually every broadcast. O'Reilly kicked off the show with a monologue (the "Talking Points Memo," in "Factor" parlance) criticizing Democrats for blocking President Trump's pick for the Supreme Court, Neil Gorsuch.

He resumed the theme a bit later, saying the Democrats' "hatred" for Trump is "disrupting the republic." There was plenty of inveighing against "craziness on college campuses," with O'Reilly decrying "safe spaces" and his sidekick Jesse Watters traveling to Columbia University for one of his patented man-on-the-street segments.

And then, at 9:00, O'Reilly signed off much like he always does.

"I am Bill O'Reilly, please always remember that the spin stops here because we're definitely looking out for you," he told his viewers, roughly four million of whom tune in on a given night.

Related: Mercedes-Benz pulls ads from 'The O'Reilly Factor'

It was a one-hour slice of normalcy in a tense period for both O'Reilly and his employer. Monday's broadcast of the "Factor" started only three hours after the automaker Mercedes-Benz said its ads on the program had been "reassigned" following the Times' report.

Earlier in the day, Fox News contributor Julie Roginsky filed a lawsuit against the network, its former chairman Roger Ailes and current co-president Bill Shine, alleging sexual harassment and retaliation.

Rupert Murdoch and his sons, the powerful media dynasty running Fox's parent company 21st Century Fox, have taken a more heads-on role at the cable news channel since Ailes was ousted after a wave of similar allegations against him.

While Fox's programming remains as conservative as ever, the Murdochs have pledged to fix the network's employee culture.

O'Reilly's reticence on Monday was a break from how he has dealt with such matters in the past. When a former producer filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against him in 2004, which was eventually settled and was among among those settlements discussed in the Times article, O'Reilly delivered a thunderous response on his program that same night.

The suit was, O'Reilly said, "the single most evil thing I have ever experienced, and I've seen a lot."

"But these people picked the wrong guy," he insisted.

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