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Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly in harassment allegations

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Bill O’Reilly hosts Fox News’ most popular show

The host of Fox News’ most popular show has said his position makes him «vulnerable to lawsuits» after it emerged at least five women have accused him of harassment.

Bill O’Reilly released the statement after the New York Times reported he and his employee had paid the women a total of $13m (£10.3m).

In return, they paper says, they did not take their cases to court.

21st Century Fox says Mr O’Reilly, 67, denies wrongdoing.

In a statement published on his website, The O’Reilly Factor host said he was «vulnerable to lawsuits from individuals who want me to pay them to avoid negative publicity».

Mr O’Reilly added that «no-one has ever filed a complaint about me with the human resources department», and says he «put to rest any controversies to spare my children».

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption His employer 21st Century Fox said Mr O’Reilly denies the claims

A statement from 21st Century Fox to the New York Times said: «While he denies the merits of these claims, Mr. O’Reilly has resolved those he regarded as his personal responsibility.»

Two of the cases had been previously reported. However, the New York Times investigation discovered three more after conducting «more than five dozen interviews with current and former employees».

Two of the new cases were of a sexual nature and one alleged verbally abusive behaviour by O’Reilly.

The cases date back as far as 2002, and all the women were connected in some way to his show, the highest rated on the network, or worked for other programmes.

This is the second scandal to hit the channel in less than a year.

Its long-time boss Roger Ailes resigned in July after a number of female employees accused him of sexual harassment.