By Erica Pishdadian published
Donald Trump is sticking by Bill O'Reilly.
The Fox News host has long been the network's top talent, with a show ranked No. 1 in cable news. But O'Reilly has found himself at the center of a controversy recently, following a New York Times report highlighting five sexual harassment lawsuits that he's settled.
O'Reilly has been accused of settling suits totaling around $13 million. One suit, with a producer, accounted for $9 million of that money. All of the women who filed claims against O'Reilly were reportedly staff members of his show or guests who appeared on it. Their claims ran the gamut from verbal abuse to vulgar comments to unwanted advances. The Times reported that some women complained about phone calls in which it sounded like O'Reilly was masturbating.
Trump brushed off those claims Wednesday. "I think he's a person I know well—he is a good person," the president said in an interview with the Times. "I think he shouldn't have settled; personally I think he shouldn't have settled," he said. "Because you should have taken it all the way. I don't think Bill did anything wrong."
Trump has his own controversial history with sexual assault claims. After a tape was released in October 2016 of Trump talking to then-co-anchor of Access Hollywood Billy Bush about grabbing women's genitals, multiple women came forward to accuse him of harassment.
It's important to note that settling a suit does not prove that someone is guilty. Many legal experts acknowledge that some high-profile people or companies choose to settle suits in order to avoid costly verdicts against them or the embarrassment of going to trial. O'Reilly has said the claims against him have no merit.
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