Former FOX News host Bill O’Reilly was given a restraining order against the woman who accused him of sexual harassment in 2004 after breaking her $9 million settlement earlier this month by sharing her allegations against him.
Andrea Mackris, 50, agreed to sign a nondisclosure agreement as part of the 2004 settlement banning her from talking about O’Reilly’s alleged sexual assault.
But earlier this month she broke her silence, in an extended interview with the Daily Beast, in which she describes the alleged harassment she faced while working as a producer on O’Reilly’s show for four years.
She was due to discuss the matter further on “The View” on Wednesday, but on Tuesday night, O’Reilly was given a temporary restraining order against her, effectively preventing her from appearing on the show.
“We were informed late yesterday of a temporary restraining order issued by a court against Andrea Mackris,” an ABC spokesperson said in a statement to the newspaper. Daily Beast Wednesday morning.
“We have decided to postpone her interview pending further developments. We look forward to welcoming her to The View at a later date.”
Andrea Mackris, after nearly 20 years, spoke on July 13 about the alleged sexual harassment she faced while working as a producer for Bill O’Reilly, despite signing a nondisclosure agreement on the allegations in 2004
She was due to discuss these claims on an episode of The View on Wednesday
The Daily Beast reports that O’Reilly’s lawyers have filed a petition with the New York Supreme Court in Nassau County after learning that she would be appearing on the daytime talk show.
In court documents obtained by the Daily Beast, O’Reilly’s lawyers argued that “Mackris plans to further materially violate her legal obligations tomorrow morning, live on national television.”
They said that by disclosing O’Reilly’s alleged wrongdoing, she caused him “significant irreplaceable damage.”
A Nassau County Supreme Court judge granted the injunction Tuesday night, with O’Reilly’s attorneys telling the Daily Beast that the court had issued “an injunction prohibiting Ms. Mackris from further breaching the settlement agreement with Mr. O’Reilly, after to have taken note of the Daily Beast interview with Mrs Mackris and the subsequent podcast.’
They noted that “a federal court ruled that the settlement agreement was valid and enforceable” [and] Mrs. Mackris cannot unilaterally decide that she no longer wants to comply with the conditions without consequences.’
They also added that Disney, ABC’s parent company, “did the right thing by canceling Ms. Mackris’s scheduled appearance on The View.”
O’Reilly’s lawyers have reportedly asked the Daily Beast to forward the court documents to Mackris, it reports, but the court rejected the request, saying the lawyers should notify her themselves.
But by Wednesday morning, Mackris said she still “hadn’t gotten anything, but apparently Bill O’Reilly was able to disrupt my appearance on The View.
“I hope the days of the law silencing women are over,” she continued. “I will continue to fight for my vote.”
After learning about her planned appearance, the former FOX News host filed a petition with the New York State Supreme Court for a restraining order against Mackris, which was granted Tuesday night, banning her from appearing on the show.
Mackris went public with the alleged abuse she faced when she worked as a producer on O’Reilly’s show two decades earlier, on July 13 this year, saying she was pressured to sign the NDA and that she has since lost everything.
When she spoke up after all this time, she said: was her way of drawing ‘my strength out of this storm of lies, loss, greed and sorrow’.
In response, O’Reilly’s attorney Fredric S. Newman pointed to the public statement she made in 2004, saying that “Mr. O’Reilly had committed no offense’.
Mackris had sued the former FOX News host in 2004, claiming she would call her late at night while masturbating and demanding phone sex.
The lawsuit reportedly included recordings of the phone calls, in which he allegedly shared his sexual fantasies — including how he wanted to do a “loofah thing” with her in the shower, which he erroneously called a “falafel.”
She said she decided to take legal action after receiving one of those calls, claiming O’Reilly told her to forget he was her boss.
“That’s why I went to lawyers,” she said in the Daily Beast interview. ‘I had to seek protection. I wasn’t safe at work.’
Mackris, right, had worked as a producer on Bill O’Reilly’s show for four years, during which time she claimed he would call her late at night and describe his sexual fantasies about her.
In the phone call she said: ‘He described what to expect next… He said I would masturbate in front of him as he sat on the edge of the bed, naked and masturbating.
“He said it wouldn’t be sex because we wouldn’t touch. He told me to stop being my boss. He characterized this ‘fantasy outlet’ as ‘healthy’ for me and simply ‘letting off steam’. He said it would keep me hooked for the next guy I went out with. He made it sound like he was doing me a favour.
“He always wanted me to go masturbate on the phone. I never did it. He mocked my lack of participation as “hibernation” and “celibacy.” Again, like every other time, I asked him why he kept doing this when all I said was ‘No’ and ‘Please stop’ and ‘You’re my boss’.
“I was trying to get him out, I thought it would click him one of these times how wrong this was. I really wanted him to stop and I made that abundantly clear.
“Instead he said, ‘I know, but I’m going to let you play.’ Here was my boss, a man who held my career and future in his hands, acknowledging that he knew I had never consented, but he didn’t care. And he said it with a low, dark growl, “I know, but I’m going to let you play,” like a voice coming from beneath the ground, a place red hot and full of pain. That’s how his words felt when they landed in my body. The voice of the devil, pacing and hungry for more of what isn’t his to take.
‘After that phone call, I went to lawyers. I only stood up to Bill O’Reilly’s workplace sexual abuse. And before that, I lost everything I ever was and ever hoped to be.”
Mackris, who returned to her native St. Louis, Missouri in the aftermath, says she is still alarmed by the experience, which was widely reported in the media at the time.
She said she felt pressured to sign the NDA as part of the settlement, which she claims O’Reilly could paint her as a liar when he stated on air that there was “no violation by anyone in this case was’.
“By the end, I felt like my a** had been handed over to me as thoroughly as a fat, unattractive, liar, opportunistic slut and my profession had printed that all over the place,” she said of the media coverage of her lawsuit.
She filed a lawsuit against O’Reilly in 2004, which received a lot of media attention at the time. She is seen here leaving ABC Studios in New York with her attorney after appearing on Good Morning America to discuss the lawsuit in October 2004
After the lawsuit was settled, O’Reilly continued to work at Fox News until he was fired in 2017.
He was impeached after it was made public that he had paid $13 million over the years to five women, including Mackris, over allegations of sexual harassment.
“I may not get the past 17 years back, but there is a way I can regain my strength from this storm of lies, loss, greed and sorrow. It’s the same thing I did in 2004 before Fox, Bill O’Reilly, and their teams of willing executioners tied me to a contract that promises what’s left of me if I dare to do it again. Tell the truth. Walk free,” Mackris said.
FOX News released a statement saying, “The claims outlined in this report were made under the leadership of Roger Ailes, who along with Bill O’Reilly and the management referenced here have long since disappeared from the network.
“Since the summer of 2016, FOX News has worked tirelessly to transform corporate culture, including appointing a new chief executive, tripling the size of our HR footprint, appointing a new senior leadership team composed primarily of women and setting up a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council.
We have also introduced mandatory in-person harassment prevention training, identified multiple avenues for reporting ‘concerned behavior’, including an anonymous alert line, improved company-wide communication with quarterly company meetings and mentoring events, and implemented a zero-tolerance policy regarding misconduct on the workplace of any kind for which we engage outside independent companies to handle all investigations.”