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Andrea Mackris
and Bill O'Reilly
Face Off in Lawsuits

Today is

Andrea Mackris is a FOX News producer who accused political commentator Bill O'Reilly. She alleged both of the legally cognizable types, quid pro quo and a hostile work environment.

On October 13, 2004, after settlement talks had failed, Mackris filed suit against O'Reilly and FOX News in the Supreme Court of the State of New York (in that state, the "Supreme Court" is a trial court) for damages that exceed the jurisdictional allowances of the court.

The complaint detailed a number of conversations and encounters between O'Reilly and Mackris. It also involved several events, such as O'Reilly talking to Al Franken would get what was coming to him, and that any woman who crossed him or FOX would be hurt.

Fox and O'Reilly made clear their determination to aggressively fight Andrea Mackris lawsuit. On October 15, 2004, Fox sought judicial permission to replace Mackris, and sought to convince the Court that the replacement was not bad retribution for the lawsuit.

On October 21, 2004, both sides agreed to a one week postponement of legal proceedings, leading to speculation that settlement negotiations would resume. Press reports had said Andrea Mackris had been prior discussions of a potential settlement of about $2 million dollars, but no formal offer had been made, and Mackris' attorney had said that the figure was too low to be accepted.

An attorney, MBA, and Pennsylvania state legislator familiar the particular law, Rep. Mark B. Cohen of Philadelphia, said that "If proven, the allegations in Andrea Mackris complaint spell trouble for Bill O'Reilly and the corporate defendants. They document O'Reilly's knowledge of the illegality of his actions, his knowledge of Andrea Mackris not wanting to participate with him, and Andrea Mackris persistent reminders to him of their employer/employee relationship. The fact that she returned to The O'Reilly Factor after a period of absence does not indicate Andrea Mackris acquiescence in O'Reilly's actions to Andrea Mackris in and of itself: civil rights law is clear that this is never a permissible condition of employment."

On October 28, 2004, O'Reilly and Andrea Mackris reached an out of court settlement, and dropped all charges against each other. No immediate announcements were made about Andrea Mackris' future work with O'Reilly, the amount of the settlement, or any plans for a public explanation or apology by O'Reilly. Information was released by Nielsen Media Research, however, that O'Reilly's television viewer-ship on October 25, 2004 had hit 3.7 million, near the all-time high.


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