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The women accusing him of sexual harassment might think differently.
Bill O’Reilly, who was let go from Fox News amid sexual harassment accusations, now says he was an influential mentor to the women around him.
O’Reilly went on the Laura Ingraham Show on Wednesday, where conservative radio host and Fox News contributor Laura Ingraham praised O’Reilly as a mentor. She claimed O’Reilly was an influential figure to her, and that she would be forever grateful.
“I learned a lot from you on television, what works and when I didn’t do such a great job,” Ingraham told O’Reilly. “You were a really good mentor to me, Bill, and I’ll forever be grateful for you, you know that, and to you.”
O’Reilly responded by claiming most women felt the same way.
“I think that 95 percent of the women at Fox News would tell you the same thing,” he said.
Although O’Reilly has been ousted from his Fox News position for several months, he’s still fighting for the public’s support. Previously, in an interview with Today host Matt Lauer, O’Reilly claimed that he never had a human resources complaint filed against him in 42 years of working in television. O’Reilly also went on to say that while Fox News settled lawsuits aimed at him for alleged sexual harassment, he decided not to sue the accusers because of the “collateral damage” involved.
“Every allegation in this area is a conviction,” O’Reilly said. “They don’t look for the truth.”
Lauer proceeded to ask O’Reilly if he did any soul-searching over the past couple months, but O’Reilly defended himself, claiming that one of the accusers against him was arrested for filing a false police report. He considers his firing to be a “business decision,” one motivated through a political boycott “engineered by Media Matters,” a progressive media watchdog organization.
“This was a hit job,” he said. “A political and financial hit job.”
O’Reilly isn’t the first Fox News host to be accused of sexual misconduct while on the job. Host Eric Bolling was let go for sending pictures of his genitals to female colleagues, and Making Money’s Charles Payne was recently accused of sexually assaulting a Fox Business guest analyst. The network has also paid out tens of millions of dollars in settlements for sexual harassment claims made against late former chairman Roger Ailes.
Ana Valens is an LGBTQ reporter and essayist for the Daily Dot. Her work has previously appeared in Bitch, the Establishment, Vice's Waypoint, Rolling Stone's Glixel, and the Toast. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.