WOODLAND HILLS (CBSLA.com/AP) — A former Fox News contributor is calling for an independent investigation into what she calls a culture of sexual harassment at the Fox News Network.
Wendy Walsh claimed she lost her job on “The O’Reilly Factor” after declining Bill O’Reilly’s invitation to his room following dinner at the Hotel Bel-Air in 2013.
O’Reilly has denied any wrongdoing.
The development follows a recent New York Times report that Fox News’ parent company, 21st Century Fox, or O’Reilly had paid $13 million to five women since 2002 to settle allegations of inappropriate behavior by O’Reilly.
Last year, Fox News chief Roger Ailes left the network following accusations he had made unwanted sexual advances against women. Ailes has denied the charges.
Walsh said she is not suing O’Reilly or seeking any money, just “honesty.”
The psychologist/radio host said she never filed a sexual harassment claim because “I didn’t know that you can be sexually harassed if you’re a job applicant. I thought you had to be an employee.”
“Nobody can silence me because my voice is not for sale. Nobody can buy my voice,” Walsh said. “If Fox was not a toxic environment, I would love to be there. I’m just a mom who wants a job.”
“Every woman in America has the legal right to a workplace free of sexual harassment,” said Walsh’s lawyer Lisa Bloom. “Each of us has the right to complain about harassment without being fired. We get to be treated with respect and keep our jobs. That’s how the law works. Apparenty, the network believes that multi-million dollar sexual harassment payouts is simply a cost of doing business.”
O’Reilly responded to those charges with a statement released Saturday that read in part: “Just like other prominent and controversial people, I’m vulnerable to lawsuits from individuals who want me to pay them to avoid negative publicity. In my more than 20 years at Fox News Channel, no one has ever filed a complaint about me with the Human Resources Department, even on the anonymous hotline.”
Earlier Monday, a Fox News contributor filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against Ailes, saying she was denied opportunities after she rebuffed Ailes’ advances and that current management sought to keep her complaints quiet.
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)