As nearly two dozen companies pull their advertisements from Fox News' "The O'Reilly Factor," President Donald Trump has come to the defense of the show's host, saying he's a "good person" who didn't do anything wrong.
A New York Times article published Saturday revealed that five women who worked on the show or worked for Bill O'Reilly have received payouts totaling roughly $13 million to settle sexual harassment or verbal abuse claims.
The women who made the allegations "have complained about a wide range of behavior, including verbal abuse, lewd comments, unwanted advances, and phone calls in which it sounded as if Mr. O'Reilly was masturbating, according to documents and interviews," Times reporters Emily Steel and Michael S. Schmidt wrote.
But according to Trump, O'Reilly "shouldn't have settled."
Speaking to the Times for an Oval Office interview, Trump said of O'Reilly: "I think he's a person I know well—he is a good person."
Instead of reaching settlements, O'Reilly "should have taken it all the way. I don't think Bill did anything wrong," Trump said.
Trump himself was at the center for controversy on the campaign trail when the Washington Post unearthed a 2005 video in which he told "Access Hollywood" host Billy Bush that "when you're a star...you can do anything," including kiss women without their consent or "grab them by the pussy."
The Times also noted that
Two [of the five] settlements came after the network's former chairman, Roger Ailes, was dismissed last summer in the wake of a sexual harassment scandal, when the company said it did not tolerate behavior that "disrespects women or contributes to an uncomfortable work environment."
Just hours after the publication of that story, "Ailes was hit with another sexual discrimination lawsuit," as USA Today wrote Monday.
NOW President Terry O'Neill said, "Mr. O'Reilly's case is part of a larger culture that condones the harassment and objectification of women at Fox News. Men like Mr. O'Reilly and Mr. Ailes will never be stopped as long as their behavior is allowed to continue, even supported, by their employer."
"For too long women have endured dangerous sexism at the hands of powerful men and powerful institutions," she said. "Fox News is too big and too influential to simply let this go. Women have the right to go to work without facing harassment. Fox News apparently doesn't get that basic concept."
Neither, it seems, does Trump.