Ex-Fox host blasts Donald Trump for defending Bill O’Reilly

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For three days, Bill O’Reilly has remained silent as over 45 advertisers have fled his show after it was revealed $13 million in payments have been made to settle claims made by former Fox News employees and personalities accusing him of inappropriate behavior and sexual misconduct.

But not everyone has been as tight-lipped as O’Reilly.

On Wednesday, President Donald Trump entered the fray, defending the popular Fox News host and longtime friend as “a good person.”

“I don’t think Bill did anything wrong,” Trump told the New York Times. The president is a well-known fan of Fox News, and has been a regular guest on The O’Reilly Factor, including granting O’Reilly an exclusive interview prior to the Super Bowl.

“Personally, I think he shouldn’t have settled,” Trump continued. “Because you should have taken it all the way; I don’t think Bill did anything wrong.”

Trump’s comments didn’t sit well with former Fox Business Network host Rebecca Gomez Diamond, one of the five women who received a settlement from O’Reilly. Diamond, who has remained silent about the 2011 payout she received from the Fox News star, blasted Trump for publicly defending O’Reilly. 

“I’m saddened reading your comments,” Diamond said in a series of tweets directed at the president. “Truly disappointed and vilified all over again. Such comments tell women they won’t be believed.”

Diamond also addressed Trump’s advice to O’Reilly that he should not have settled with his accusers.

“President Trump, the women were forced to settle, not the other way around, because of employment agreements prohibiting court trials,” Diamond said.

Here’s what Diamond posted on Twitter:

Diamond told the Times that she signed a confidentiality agreement as part of her settlement that prevents her from offering details about her claims. The Times also reported her case involved recorded conversations with O’Reilly.

Diamond isn’t the only person to blast Trump for his defense of O’Reilly. CNN chief political correspondent Dana Bash thought it was inappropriate for the president to even discuss the Fox News host’s sexual harassment lawsuits.

“Don’t talk about Bill O’Reilly and sexual harassment suits when you know nothing about the context and the content of what those suits are,” Bash said. “It’s nice that he’s a loyal friend, it’s nice that they’ve known each other for years and years and he’s coming to his defense. But he’s the president of the United States.”

“And to [defend O’Reilly], no matter how nice he’s been, is completely inappropriate,” Bash added. “Knowing nothing about the substance.”

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21st Century Fox responded to the Times report on Sunday, saying in a statement it “denies the merits of these claims.” And O’Reilly said in a statement on his website over the weekend that he settled the claims in order to “put to rest any controversies to spare my children.”

Trump’s defense comes as over 45 advertisers have fled The O’Reilly Factor over the allegations made against the show’s popular host. Despite the pressure being placed on O’Reilly and his show, the moves haven’t actually hurt the bottom line at Fox News, as the network says it is simply shifting the ad buys to other programs.

“We value our partners and are working with them to address their current concerns about the O’Reilly Factor,” said Fox News advertising executive Paul Rittenberg. “At this time, the ad buys of those clients have been re-expressed into other FNC programs.”

The O’Reilly Factor generated $446 million in ad revenue between 2014 and 2016, according to CNN. Mercedes-Benz, one of the sponsers to pull its commercials from the show, spent about $1.9 million in ads on the show during the last year, according to iSpot.tv, the TV ad analytics firm.

Trump has also defended longtime friend and former Fox News chairman Roger Ailes, who was ousted after being accused of sexually harassing at least two dozen women, including former Fox News stars Megyn Kelly and Gretchen Carlson.

“I can tell you that some of the women that are complaining, I know how much he’s helped them, and even recently. And when they write books that are fairly recently released, and they say wonderful things about him. And now, all of a sudden, they’re saying these horrible things about him,” Trump said in an interview with NBC’s “Meet the Press” last year. “It’s very sad because he’s a very good person. I’ve always found him to be just a very, very good person. And, by the way, a very, very talented person. Look what he’s done. So I feel very badly.”

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