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Former Fox News Employees Push Back in Defamation Lawsuit Against Bill O’Reilly and Fox News

New York City, April 3, 2018 – Three former Fox News employees, Rebecca Gomez Diamond, Andrea Mackris, and Rachel Witlieb Bernstein, who have sued Bill O’Reilly and Fox News for defamation, are fighting to argue their case in open court.

Neil Mullin, Esq. and Nancy Erika Smith, Esq., of the Montclair, N.J. law firm Smith Mullin, have filed papers opposing a motion by O’Reilly to have the case dismissed or, failing that, have their claims arbitrated in secret.

For the better part of a year, Bill O’Reilly railed against these women, according to papers filed today in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, repeatedly insisting that they were conducting a “politically and financially motivated” “smear” campaign against him.

“Now he wants his victims to submit to arbitration, so he can avoid publicly defending those indefensible statements,” Smith said.

By acting as though no arbitration agreement exists, O’Reilly waived any right to compel arbitration of the women’s defamation claims, according to the filing.

In a companion brief also filed today, the women argue that Fox News and its parent company, 21st Century Fox also defamed them by broadcasting patently false statements about them on the Fox News website, on radio and television, and by comments made by Chairman of both entities, Rupert Murdoch, calling the sexual harassment claims “nonsense.” Fox News has breached its right to arbitration due to its defamation of the plaintiffs, according to the brief.

After an April 1, 2017 New York Times article revealed that O’Reilly and Fox News paid about $13 million to settle claims of sexual harassment brought by a “small identifiable group” of five women, including Diamond, Mackris and Bernstein, “O’Reilly viciously defamed the plaintiffs throughout the world for nine months,” the brief reads. Those earlier settlements forced the victims to forego litigation and never speak about what O’Reilly did to them.

“This serial abuser, who forced these women to sign confidentiality provisions embedded in settlement arbitration clauses, now asks the court to hold them hostage to those clauses,” Mullin said. “His material breach of those confidentiality provisions entirely invalidates the settlement arbitration clauses.”

Moreover, the brief argues, the Mackris, Diamond and Bernstein lawsuit should not be dismissed because claims of recent defamation are not subject to arbitration clauses in agreements executed years before.

“The courts have taken a harsh view of overbroad attempts to hide everything under an arbitration clause,” Smith added.

The brief points to a similar case involving President Donald J. Trump in which the New York court rejected an attempt to have thrown out defamation lawsuits filed by women who claim he sexually harassed them, citing the President’s oft-repeated public statements that he was the victim of a smear campaign the women undertook for political and financial reasons.
“At a time when women are refusing to remain quiet about abuse at the hands of men, Bill O’Reilly’s cynical effort to force these women behind closed doors to seek redress against his defamation of them is intolerable, outrageous and insulting,” said Mullin.

“Bill O’Reilly has horribly maligned these women with false statements,” said Smith, “subjecting them to public contempt, hatred, ridicule, aversion and disgrace. They will not submit to being bullied again. They will persist. They will not be silenced.”

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About Smith Mullin:

Smith Mullin is a nationally recognized law firm based in Montclair, New Jersey. The attorneys at Smith Mullin represent employees who are victims of discrimination based on age, sex, race, national origin, marital status, religion, veteran’s status, sexual orientation or handicap. The firm also represents victims of retaliation for their blowing the whistle on employer misconduct, or objecting to discrimination or retaliation.